Back to School Edition: September 2015

At a Glance

  • Upcoming PD Opportunities
  • Recap of ODL’s summer work
  • Save the Dates
  • Getting to Know: Alex Wolf

Office of Digital Learning

Welcome back from ODL!

Professional Development Opportunities


The Office of Digital Learning is continuing its wildly successful Digital Learning University (DLU) with a host of both familiar and new workshops.  Last school year, 41 people earned one CPD credit by completing 15 hours of professional learning on their choice of topics.  This summer, 546 seats were filled over the course of 38 workshop modules.  Participants in Digital Learning University for the 2015-16 school year have ALREADY completed over 890 hours of professional learning and over 20 CPD credits!  If you are interested in selecting your own path for professional growth, consider signing up for Digital Learning University.  New DLU Pathways are an easy way for you to plan your professional development for the year.  Over 45 workshops modules are scheduled for this fall with at least six new topics being developed.  Don’t wait too long… workshops begin on September 8.

ODL is also offering several other Continuing Professional Development Courses for a deeper dive.  Full course descriptions, dates, and locations can be found on the CPD page of our Resource Wiki.  Or, click on the course name below to go right to the online registration system:


While you Were Out…

We all know that for many educators “summer break” does not mean simply lounging by the pool for two months.  BCPS is a happening place during the summer months, and 2015 was no exception.  Here’s a look at what was happening “while you were out…”

Resource Wiki Revisions

The ODL team was hard at work this summer updating and adding to the Toolbox Index section of their Resource Wiki.  The biggest update was formatting the index as one large list in alphabetical order.  Now, tools for teacher use only, for digital content, and for installed programs are identified by a color in the first column. ToolboxHeader

The team also added support for using Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive for collaboration and sharing.  Other new tools include PixiClips (a screen casting whiteboard program), Lino (a collaborative space for adding text, images, etc.) and NewsELA (a current events site that allows teachers to differentiate readings by Lexile).  Look for the Newlogo throughout the year to identify index additions.

Be sure to also check out the Device Care and Use section with updated lesson plans for introducing devices to your students and new visual resources to support independent thinking and learning.

STAT Teacher Summer LearningSTATSummer

STAT teachers were engaged in professional learning by participating in a variety of workshops sponsored by the Offices of Organizational Development and Digital Learning. During these workshops, STAT teachers had an opportunity to collaborate, plan, and problem solve so they may apply their new learning to support their schools during the upcoming school year. Workshop topics included: adult learning theory, PLCs, learner-centered environments, social media, coaching, co-planning, technology integration, connected learning, mindsets, planning PD, formative assessment, SAMR, UDL, and digital tools and resources.

STAT School Library Summer Institute

On June 22nd, Elementary School library media specialists and Lighthouse Middle School library media specialists enjoyed a day of professional learning, facilitated by our Lighthouse Elementary School library media specialists, to prepare for STAT. After Lighthouse ES library media specialists shared their insights and experiences in a panel discussion with Q & A, participants attended a variety of breakout sessions including: Accessing K-5 Library Media Curriculum in BCPS One; Learner-Centered Library Spaces; Learner-Centered Library Instruction; Collaboration & Communication Tools; Feedback & Assessment Tools; Discovery Education; Wixie; Un-Deweying the School Library; eBooks; and Leadership in the Middle School Library. Professional learning resources from this Summer Institute have been curated for future reference on our BCPS Librarians’ Resource wiki.


ODL Summer Curriculum Workshops

The Office of Digital Learning hosted three curriculum writing workshops: Revisions to the K-5 Library Media Curriculum, Infusing the Research Strand of the CCSS-ELA through Online Research Models and Slam Dunks, and Revisions to the Independent Research Seminar.  BCPS Library Media Specialists and Towson University School Library Media Cohort XIV interns worked collaboratively to create rigorous, engaging lessons and research models and to enhance current curriculum.

  • Revised K-5 Library Media CurriculumCurriculumWriting
    Library Media Specialists and Cohort XIV interns revised and refined our existing K-5 Elementary Library Media Curriculum, adding in more short, focused research opportunities through the addition of three Slam Dunk Units, revising and improving formative and summative assessments, as well adding digital tools for students and more options for student-centered learning opportunities. New units were created to foster reading comprehension skills and promote a love for reading while increasing the diversity already reflected throughout the curriculum by adding a unit of stories representative of various cultures around the world.  Student Centered Unit Overviews were created and included in every unit of every grade level to outline what students will be able to do at the end of each unit. The Digital Citizenship unit in Grade 3 now includes a summative assessment from Common Sense Media’s Interactive Unit Assessments, and all units of the K-5 Library Media Curriculum are now in BCPS One for teachers to access.
  • Independent Research Seminar: Lessons for the Independent Research Seminar course for high school juniors and seniors were revised, aligned to CCSS and AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner, and added into BCPS One.  Additionally, links to digital content/web-based resources in the online Independent Research framework were updated.
  • Online Research Models and Slam Dunks: We created a new, more user-friendly ORM/Slam Dunk index page and revised or designed new ORMs/Slam Dunk lessons for Elementary Library Media; Middle and High School Digital Citizenship;  Elementary, Middle and High School ELA; Middle and High School Social Studies; Elementary Science; High School ESOL; Elementary Health; Middle School Music; and Elementary and High School Dance. In addition, we updated links to digital content and online resources in our existing Online Research Models and Slam Dunk Lessons.

Additional Items

Wolf family

Getting to Know: Alex Wolf

Facilitator, Office of Digital Learning


  • BS, Geography, Towson State
  • Teaching Certification, College of Notre Dame
  • MS, Instructional Technology, Johns Hopkins
  • Teacher, Studio Coordinator, Tech Liaison at Loch Raven Technical Academy (15 years)
Family: 26 legs, divided among wife Jennifer, 5 children (ages 2 – 13, four boys and one girl), two dogs, and two chickens.  Bird count subject to change.

Hobbies and interests: Scout leader; almost anything outdoors, but especially rock climbing and kayaking; chess; pretending to maintain a fruit garden, and almost anything science fiction related.

Unusual fact: “I was once struck by lightning (explains a lot, right?)”

Currently re-reading: Sum of All Fears, Tom Clancy

Favorite tech tool: “I absolutely love shared documents, in either Google Docs or OneDrive.  They have revolutionized how students and professionals can collaborate and have extended the classroom to almost anywhere.  An added benefit is the ease of tracking who is participating, to check up on student group members and ensure all are doing their share.”

Save the Dates

(This is an incomplete list. Check the Online Registration System for full information and availability.)

  • September 1: Liaison Back to School Meeting @ Cockeysville Middle School
  • September 10: Liaison Hangout Online
  • September 17: STAT Teacher Monthly Professional Development @ Loyola Graduate Center
  • September 22: Half Day STAT Cohort Professional Development
  • October 6: Elementary Liaison Meeting Online
  • October 7: Secondary Liaison Meeting Online
  • October 21: Liaison Hangout Online
  • October 21 or 23: Professional Development for Elementary School Library Media Specialists
  • October 27: Professional Development for Middle School and High School Library Media Specialists



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