October 2014

October Edition at a GlanceOctober

  • Experience a new professional development opportunity Inside BCPS in Digital Learning University
  • This month’s Food for Thought asks “How important is student voice?”
  • Get to Know another new ODL resource teacher, Justin Hennaut
  • Read about some Tips, Tricks, and Tools that are quick and easy to learn and implement
  • The collection of articles in this month’s In the Media focus on effective instruction and thinking beyond the tool

Inside BCPS

University_LogoDigital Learning University

The Office of Digital Learning announces a one (1) CPD credit professional learning opportunity to support educators and improve teaching and learning. Digital Learning University currently offers 15 different modules on topics from Basic PowerPoint to Leveraging Technology in a Learner Centered Classroom. Participants must complete five modules by the end of the school year. Each three-hour module is comprised of two hours of instruction and a one-hour reflection. Registration for Digital Learning University is ongoing and is a two-step process:

  1. Teachers must register for Digital Learning University, located in the PDC Inservice Catalog- CPD Courses of the Online Registration System. This will indicate interest in completing the modules required to earn one CPD credit for Digital Learning University.
  2. Teachers then register for their individual Digital Learning University module choices in the PDC Inservice Catalog- Professional Learning Modules of the Online Registration System. Registration will close on June 30, 2015, and all modules must be completed by that date. Participants do not need to register for all five modules in the fall as additional offerings will be added in January 2015, and will be held until June 2015.

For more details on Digital Learning University, visit the ODL Wiki.

BCPS awarded state Digital Learning Innovation Grant: Funding to help bridge elementary, middle school learning

As one of nine school systems to receive a grant through Maryland’s 2014 Digital Learning Innovation Fund, Baltimore County Public Schools will use its $300,000 grant for bridge-building – extending the digital learning experience for children as they move from elementary to middle school.  Read More

Lighthouse Schools Working Out The Digital Kinks

WYPR interview with teachers, students, and administrators at Halstead Academy focusing on the successes and challenges of a lighthouse school.  Read or Listen to the Interview

Other Highlights:

  • Second Language Acquisition initiative piloted in 10 elementary schools. Read More
  • Parents Learn How to Access School Information from Home. Read More
  • Promoting Student Choice in support of learner-centered environments. View Photos

Food for Thought: Student Voice

Teachers want a lot for their students. We want them engaged; we want them to be active learners; we want them to be responsible and hard-working. Ultimately we want them to be good, successful citizens. The goal of teachers and parents is often the same: we want to be proud of our progeny. Joshua Block thinks giving students opportunities to explain their learning through their points of view helps us achieve that goal. He shares 5 suggestions for encouraging student voice in this article.

Do you think student voice is important enough that teachers should implement his suggestions in the classroom?  Please feel free to share your insights in the comment section at the bottom of this newsletter.

Student Engagement: Prioritizing Student VoicesEdutopia, Joshua Block, September 9, 2014

“Opportunities to share work and ideas in meaningful ways can transform students. These processes are often scary and can be fraught, but when class norms include space for student voices and responses to authentic student ideas, learning becomes a self-affirming process of risk taking, experimentation, and growth.”


Justin2

Getting to Know: Justin Hennaut

S.T.A.T. Resource Teacher, Office of Digital Learning

Education and Teaching Background:

  • B.S. in Elementary Education from Salisbury University
  • M.Ed. in Education (Technology for Educators) from Johns Hopkins University
  • Taught 4 years at Glyndon Elementary 5th grade and 3rd grade
  • Taught 4 years at Pot Spring Elementary 3rd grade

Family: Sister Lauren, Nephew Brodee, and Dog Malibu

Hobbies and/or Interests: Being outdoors, kayaking, beach, urban gardening, couponing, home improvements, keeping up with current events

Unusual Fact: Justin traveled to the White House in 9th grade for a Rose Garden press conference and met President Clinton.
Favorite tool: “Classtools.net: Fakebook allows students to create a fake Facebook profile page.  This site could be used to create a profile page for historical figures, fictional characters, etc.”
Favorite Books: Anything written by James Patterson

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Just Start Typing

From the Metro screen (the one with the tiles) Windows 8 allows you to start a search by simply typing. For instance, if your screen is too dark, just start typing “screen” while on the Windows Metro screen. It will immediately return all search results that deal with the screen.  No need to look for the search tool magnifying glass!

You can enhance this feature by enabling Bing search results.  To enable Bing results, just start typing “Bing,” select “Choose whether to include search suggestions and results from Bing,” and then turn on the Bing search results.  Now, when you just start typing to perform a search, Windows will also search the Internet.  Want more information about quarters?  Just start typing “quarter” and hit enter.  The search results come from your computer, images, websites, and more.  Go ahead, type away!

search  bing  quarters

Go Noodle!

Does your class need a Brain Break?  Try www.gonoodle.com.  It is a free site for teachers to use to engage their class in brain break exercises.  The site has Zumba, running, dances, yoga, and more.  It even tracks your class’s progress with the help of a “champ.”  Check it out!

QRQR: Quick and Really (Easy)

Share information quickly and easily using QR codes.  Every BCPS device has an app built in to read these codes.  Use them to share with parents and students alike.  Scan the code below to learn more about using QR codes in your classroom.


In the Media

Not Just Group Work — Productive Group Work

Edutopia · Andrew Miller · September 24, 2014

“We know that group work can be instructionally effective, but only if it is productive. We don’t just want busywork when students work in groups — we want learning! Work doesn’t always create learning, an idea that many teachers still struggle with.” Read more…

20 Ways to Use Edmodo in the Classroom

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · seyfert6 · October 6, 2014

“Using edmodo in the classroom isn’t rocket science. Edmodo is essentially an education-focused social media platform. This makes it much less of a headache to use in schools compared to twitter, Google+, or other more popular sites that bring with them various real-world hangnails. You share messages, post documents, and form groups to collaborate.” Read more…

There’s No App for Good Teaching: 8 ways to think about tech in ways that actually improve the classroom

ideas.ted.com · Laura Moorehead · September 3, 2014

“Bringing technology into the classroom often winds up an awkward mash-up between the laws of Murphy and Moore: What can go wrong, will — only faster.  It’s a multi-headed challenge: Teachers need to connect with classrooms filled with distinct individuals. We all want learning to be intrinsically motivated and mindful, yet we want kids to test well and respond to bribes (er, extrinsic rewards). Meanwhile, there’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, in the US alone, hoping to sell apps and tech tools to school boards.  There’s no app for that.” Read more…

How Can Teachers Create a Learner-Centered Environment?

Education Week · Patrick Ledesma · June 11, 2012

As a classroom teacher, does the idea of a learner centered environment sound new to you?

The Alliance for Excellent Education recently released Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered By Digital Learning. The report advocates that a culture shift to a learner centered classroom environment is needed to prepare students to meet the challenges and demands of a global economy…”  Read more…

Teacher Librarians Virtual Café

TLNVisit the TL Virtual Café for “transformative conversations” about teacher-librarians, educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful and lifelong learning skills. No need to register, just show up! All events are on Mondays at 8 PM Eastern Time:


Folks to Follow

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Department of Innovative Learning:

  • Get the latest news from School Library Journal by signing up for SLJ e-Newsletters:
    • Curriculum Connections (monthly) reviews the latest books and other materials for children and young adults and links these materials to the curriculum. Also included are interviews, thematic articles and authoritative advice on titles to help keep children and teens reading and learning.
    • SLJTeen (twice a month) provides librarians and educators with the latest news on books, graphic novels, anime, music, and games for teens, as well as monthly interviews of debut YA authors. Reviews by teens are offered regularly, along with technology for the classroom and library.
    • Extra Helping (twice a week) keeps children’s librarians up-to-date on breaking news, top tech trends, remarkable new titles, and what kids are reading for fun. Features interviews with the hottest names in children’s literature as well as up-to-the-minute reviews of movies and the books they’re based on, and much more.
    • SLJ Events Alerts (monthly) provides a convenient listing of upcoming School Library Journal webcasts and events.

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 Office of Digital Learning.


 Upcoming Events:

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

  • October 15: Leveraging Technology in a Learner-Centered Classroom Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ White Oak School
  • October 15 – November 12 (Wednesdays): Microsoft Office 2013 Overview, 4:15 – 7:15 p.m. @ Edmonson Heights Elementary School Library
  • October 16: 
    • S.T.A.T. Teacher Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center
    • Introduction to Social Media Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Owings Mills High School Library
  • October 21:
    • S.T.A.T. Teacher Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center
    • Professional Development for Elementary School Library Media Specialists, 8:30 – 11 a.m., 1 – 3:30 p.m. @ e-classroom, Pulaski Park
    • Screencasting and Screenshots, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Cromwell Valley Elementary School
  • October 22: Professional Development for Elementary School Library Media Specialists, 8:30 – 11 a.m., 1 – 3:30 p.m. @ e-classroom, Pulaski Park
  • October 23:
    • Professional Development for High School Library Media Specialists, 8:30 – 11 a.m. @ e-classroom, Pulaski Park
    • Professional Development for Middle School Library Media Specialists, 12 – 2:30 p.m. @ e-classroom Pulaski Park
    • Copyright and Fair Use for Digital Learning Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Franklin Middle School Library
  • October 28:
    • Liaison Hangout, 3 – 5:30 p.m. @online
    • Basic PowerPoint for Teachers Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Cockeysville Middle School
  • October 29:
    • Audio Tools in Instruction, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @Glenmar Elementary School Library
    • Kidspiration, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @ Woodholme Elementary School
  • October 30:
    • S.T.A.T. Teacher Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. @Loyola Graduate Center
    • Copyright and Fair Use for Digital Learning Workshop, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ e-classroom, Pulaski Park
  • November 5: Kidspiration, 4:15 – 6:15 p.m. @ Glenmar Elementary School Library
  • November 6:
    • Kidblog, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
    • Tips for Powerful Presentation Proposals; information webinar, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
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