January/February 2016

JanFeb16January/February Edition at a Glance

  • BCPS leading the way at FETC
  • School libraries and public libraries form strong partnerships
  • Research on the benefits of learner centered instruction in this month’s Food for Thought
  • One new Tip/Trick/Tool and two to refresh your memory
  • Folks to Follow for library collection development

Inside BCPS

#TeamBCPS at FETC 

Photo courtesy of @techdaniels

Photo courtesy of @techdaniels

Several members of Team BCPS proudly sported their #BCPSBlue from the Future of Education Technology Conference in Orlando, Florida.  In addition to showing their BCPS pride, Stacy Barry (Resource Teacher, Office of Innovative Learning Projects), Katie Cox (S.T.A.T. Teacher, Mays Chapel Elementary), Melissa Daniels (S.T.A.T. Teacher, Lyons Mill Elementary), Jill Dunham-Wright (S.T.A.T. Teacher, Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet), Michael Fort (Supervisor, Office of Digital Learning), Ryan Imbriale (Executive Director, Department of Innovative Learning) Sean McComb (Resource Teacher, Office of Organizational Development), Dana Novotny (Library Media Specialist, Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet), Nick Schiner (Resource Teacher, Office of Innovative Learning Projects), Benjamin Wagner (Resource Teacher, Office of Digital Learning), and Jennifer Weaver (Resource Teacher, Office of Digital Learning) shared their expertise and experiences with attendees from all 50 states and over 40 countries!  As the 2014 National Teacher of the Year, Sean was asked to be the closing keynote speaker and spoke passionately about empowering teachers and students.  Ryan and Jennifer led workshops on B.Y.O.D. and infographics respectively.  Dana and Jill presented a concurrent session on high- and low-tech formative assessment as well as sharing a poster about their TV studio program.  Advice on 21st century professional development (Katie and Melissa), selecting 1:1 devices (Michael and Ben), and telling the story of your journey (Stacy and Nick) were shared with dozens of people in the popular poster sessions.  FETC was an excellent platform for BCPS to showcase the S.T.A.T. initiative and demonstrate leadership on the journey towards technology supported, student-centered learning environments.

2nd Annual SAIL Collaboration Day:


Photo courtesy of @Accordin2Jo

As part of the Students Achieve in Libraries (SAIL) partnership between BCPS and the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL), school library media specialists and their public library partners met for collaborative professional development on January 19th at local BCPL branches across the county. School library media specialists shared information about BCPS One and our K–12 Digital Content so that BCPL staff may better assist student patrons with school assignments. BCPL staff showcased the public library databases available to our students with their SAIL cards, so that school library media specialists may promote the use of these resources to support student learning. Ideas and materials for incorporating Makerspace activities in the library were shared. Participants also strategized for semiannual school events at local branches and schools, and for continued student SAIL card registration.  Check out photos and comments from these events on Twitter @bcplinfo @bcpsodl #bcpslms.

The ConnectED Library Challenge

In April, 2015, the President announced the ConnectED Library Challenge, calling upon library directors to work with their mayors, school leaders, and school librarians to create or strengthen partnerships so that every child enrolled in school can receive a library card. Over 30 major cities and counties have announced they are taking the
challenge, which also includes a commitment to:

  • support student learning through programming that develops their language, reading, and critical thinking
  • provide digital resources, such as eBooks and online collections of traditional media
  • provide broadband connectivity and wireless access within library facilities

SAILTo support the implementation of the ConnectED Library Challenge an event was held at the White House on January 19, 2016.  Members of local governments, public library leaders, and public school leaders were given opportunities to showcase and share existing efforts and were challenged to find new ways to continue the initiative.  Fran Glick, Coordinator, Office of Digital Learning, represented BCPS at the event.  BCPS and our partners at BCPL continue to work to improve our collaborative efforts for the benefit of all students, families, and teachers.  The attached infographic demonstrates the growth in the partnership to date.

What’s Tweeting?

Check out what’s been happening with @BCPSODL, #bcpsstat, and #bcpslms in our January/February Storify!  You don’t need to have a Twitter account to view these tweets.  If you do use Twitter, make sure you tag your tweets and you might be featured next month!

Food for Thought

Benjamin Wagner, Resource Teacher, Office of Digital Learning

Right up front, I will admit I am a believer that learner-centered instruction will be more effective at producing globally competitive graduates than teacher-directed instruction. Having the recent opportunity to do professional development with a group of secondary teachers, I was asked the question, “Where’s the research that says learner-centered is better than teacher-directed?”

We hear this question voiced in other ways: If it isn’t broken, why fix it? My students do well on tests and they make it into good universities, why should I change?

I found three articles that answer these questions in different ways. The first article is about the type of thinking students need in order to become responsible for their learning. The second article provides reasons why a learner-centered environment is better for today’s students.  The third article is for those wanting proof that learner-centered instruction is better. While this article specifically addresses research done with science classes, the five key findings are applicable to other disciplines. Note this extensively researched article was published in 2006.

Smart Strategies That Help Students Learn to Learn

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · November 19, 2015

“What’s the key to effective learning? One intriguing body of research suggests a rather riddle-like answer: It’s not just what you know. It’s what you know about what you know.”

A Clear Rationale for Learner-Centered Teaching

National Education Association · October 8, 2008

“The first step to helping students adjust to learner-centered teaching is to explain WHY this approach is the best possible way to enhance their academic success. This includes explaining how the new learning roles and responsibilities expected of them in a learner-centered classroom will allow them to better meet their learning and life goals.”

Where’s the Evidence That Active Learning Works?

American Physiological Sociey · Joel Michael · December 1, 2006

“One final report is worth noting. Burrowes compared learning outcomes in two sections of the same course taught by the same teacher. One section was taught in the traditional teacher-centered manner (control group of 100 students), whereas the other section was taught in a manner that was based on constructivist ideas (experimental group of 104 students). The results of this experiment were striking: the mean exam scores of the experimental group were significantly higher than those of the control group, and students in the experimental group did better on questions that specifically tested their ability to ‘think like a scientist.’”

Tips, Tricks, and Tools


Did you know that students can now use the Turn-In feature in BCPS One to turn in an audio recording of their work?  This would be useful as a check for fluency, foreign language practice, to record a commercial, etc.  Students simply choose the microphone icon in their Turn-In.  They can record up to 3 minutes of audio.  Check out the BCPS One Manual for more information.



What is the best way for students to conduct research on the web safely and reliably?  Hint: It is not Google.  Check out netTrekker.  neTrekker provides access to more than 330,000 educator-vetted, standards-aligned active learning resources.  When researching with netTrekker students do not have to question the validity of their sources.  netTrekker is customizable to Elementary, Middle and High school students and is available to through the Digital Content section of BCPS One.


Refresh Care and Use

The new year is the perfect time to review device care and use procedures.  Complete lesson plans and a plethora of visual resources are available on the ODL Resource Wiki.  Click in the “Device Care and Use” section.


In the Media

FETC 2016: Q&A with Reshma Saujani on Bringing Girls to Coding

EdTech Magazine · D. Frank Smith · January 15, 2016:

“The opening keynote for FETC 2016 was led by a visionary leader in education who is helping to overcome the gender gap in computer science. Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization aimed at increasing the number of women involved in fields such as programming. EdTech spoke with Saujani after her keynote at FETC this year, which was focused on inspiring educators to spread STEM initiatives throughout K–12 schools.” Read more. . .

Engaging Parents to Sustain Making in Schools

Getting Smart · Patrick Benfield · December 27, 2015:

“It’s an exciting time to be a maker educator. It seems like everywhere I look, there’s inspirational work happening in community fab labs, a school launching a new innovation program, or a library incorporating STEAM into its space. At St. Gabriel’s in Austin, Texas, we entered the fray last fall with STEAM by Design, an approach to constructivist learning that uses classroom space in conjunction. . .”  Read more. . .

Hack the Classroom Digital Event

“On January 30, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. PST, Microsoft is leading the HACK THE CLASSROOM Movement. We are bringing together inspiring educators and thought leaders and sharing their secrets.  Educators who attend Hack the Classroom will leave inspired and able to incorporate some new ideas and tools into the classroom so that their students can achieve more.”  For more information…

Folks to Follow- Library Collection Development

As you consider titles to add to your school library collection, please consider following the people and organizations below. Many book recommendations, review and book trailers/ book talks are posted regularly by these Twitter accounts.

 Twitter  Websites

Upcoming Events:

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

  • January 21: BCPS One Tests and Quizzes Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
  • January 26:
    • ActivInspire Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., @Vincent Farm Elementary Library
    • Screenshots and Screencasts Workshop, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. @online
  • January 27:
    • Introduction to Wixie Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Harford Hills Elementary Library
    • Multidisciplinary Mapping Applications, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Riderwood Elementary School Room 28
  • January 28:
    • Feedback and Assessment Tools Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Stoneleigh Elementary Library
    • Unlocking the Potential of OneDrive Workshop, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Greenwood Board Room A
    • Registration closes for Transforming Instruction with SAMR Workshop @Modern Teacher One platform
  • February 2:
    • Infographics Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Halstead Academy
    • Transforming Instruction with SAMR Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Eastern Tech High Room 111
  • February 3:
    • High School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. @Pulaski, Suite 307 e-classroom
    • Middle School Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. @Pulaski Suite 307 e-classroom
    • Beyond the Furniture: Creating a Learner-Centered Environment – Teacher, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Cromwell Valley Elementary Library
  • February 4:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-classroom
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-classroom
    • ClassFlow Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Riderwood Elementary Room 28
    • Audio Tools in Instruction Workshop, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Rosedale Center C22
  • February 5:
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-classroom
    • Elementary Library Media Specialist Professional Development, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. @ Pulaski Suite 307 e-classroom
  • February 9:
    • Elementary Technology Liaison and Alternates Meeting, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
    • BCPS One Tests and Quizzes Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
    • Beyond the Furniture: Creating a Learner-Centered Environment – Student, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Fort Garrison Elementary Room 22
  • February 10:
    • Secondary Technology Liaison and Alternates Meeting, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. @online
    • Office Mix Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @White Oak School Library
    • Developing Flipped Learning Workshop, 5:30 – 7;30 p.m. @online
  • February 11:
    • Creative Response Tools Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @online
    • Introduction to Wixie Workshop, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. @Mays Chapel Elementary Library
  • February 16:
    • Databases for Digital Learning Grades 6-12 Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Loch Raven High Library
    • Elementary – Facilitating Instruction in BCPS One through the Lesson Tiles Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Lyons Mill Elementary Library
  • February 17:
    • Device 101 Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Cromwell Valley Elementary Library
    • OneNote Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Summit Park Elementary Library
  • February 18: Dive Into the Deep End of SAMR: Planning Learning Activities Above the Line Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @ Eastern Tech High Room 111
  • February 23 – 28: Transforming Instruction with SAMR Workshop, All Day @Modern Teacher One Platform (Online)
  • February 23: Audio Tools in Instruction Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @White Oak School Library
  • February 24: Feedback and Assessment Tools, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. @online
  • February 25: Introduction to Social Media, 4: 30 – 6:30 p.m. @Lyons Mill Elementary Library



One thought on “January/February 2016

  1. Pingback: Tech Travel Update: $400,000. Seven offices. A handful of employees. For next year alone. | STAT-us BCPS

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