May 2016

May Edition at a GlanceMay16

  • #edcampbcps and #cgmd16 dominated the ODL Twitter feed this month; learn what the buzz was about!
  • Food for Thought on preparing our students for tomorrow’s world
  • Unknown tools, a new tool, and changes to an existing tool
  • Q&A with Makerspaces Innovator Laura Fleming

Inside BCPS

Extended Professional Learning Experiences


Office of Digital Learning staff at Edcamp BCPS 4/16/16

Saturday, April 16, marked the Office of Digital Learning’s first Edcamp BCPS.  One hundred and five BCPS educators (and a few from outside of BCPS) gave up a Saturday morning to participate in this unique professional learning format.  Twenty-seven sessions on a variety of participant requested topics encouraged conversation and collaboration among educators.  The entire schedule and crowd-sourced notes are linked from our Edcamp page. The day was a huge success and we look forward to hosting another Edcamp in the future!


BCPS employees participating in Common Ground 2016- Photos courtesy of Twitter

On April 28 & 29, BCPS joined education colleagues from across the state and surrounding areas for the fifth annual Common Ground conference, Maryland’s top professional development event of the year.  Members of BCPS led and attended dozens of inspiring professional development sessions in order to grow and gain knowledge in 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Check out #cgmd16 on Twitter for a recap.

Other Highlights:

  • BCPS Film Expo: Want to see some of the earliest films by the next great filmmakers? Join Baltimore County Public Schools for a red carpet premiere of the 20 finalists in the inaugural BCPS Film Expo. The free event will be held on Thursday, May 5, from 5 – 9 p.m. at the historic Senator Theater at 5904 York Rd., 21212.  Read more…
  • Celebrating National School Library Month with spotlights on Lisa WashingtonJeff Flynn, and Pam Cline

What’s Tweeting?

Check out what’s been happening with @BCPSODL, #bcpsstat, and #bcpslms in our May 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: Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s World

Benjamin Wagner, Resource Teacher

Preparing students for their future is vastly different today than in the past. Education has been accused of teaching for the world that was, or more charitably for the world that is. To do our students justice, they need to be taught for the world that will be. An over-reliance on content and compliance produced willing workers with basic skills. This is no longer sufficient. We need to graduate students who are as nimble with their thinking as they are with their feet; students who understand that graduation is the first step to a lifetime of learning; students who can both think for themselves and work well with others. The two Cs of the past have given way to the 4Cs for tomorrow.

I found three articles of interest. One compares highly regarded Finnish schools with American schools; one is about lifelong learning; and the third is about developing creativity in students.

Opinion: The Finnish formula: let kids be kids · William Doyle · March 23, 2016

William Doyle provides a revealing contrast between Finnish and American schools. Here are two snippets to pique your curiosity: Finnish schools have fifteen minutes of recess each hour and educators are the ultimate authorities on education, not politicians, bureaucrats, or vendors.

“Finland doesn’t waste time or money on low-quality mass standardized testing. Instead, children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality ‘personalized learning device’ ever created — flesh-and-blood teachers.”  Read more…

Powerful Ways to Foster Lifelong Learning Skills

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · GDC Team · April 2016

How do we develop lifelong learners? This article lists six things teachers can do to help foster this mindset.

“Educators want their students to succeed in and out of the classroom. The idea is to make sure that once they leave school, they no longer need us. In essence, the students must become the teachers. The point is that they never stop being learners.  This is what it means to be a lifelong learner. Below are a few ways that you can give this mindset to your students.”  Read more…

An Educator’s Guide to Teaching Creatively

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · GDC Team · April 2016

This article presents a problem for teachers. It states that to teach students to be creative, we need to understand creativity and be creative ourselves, something that is difficult considering the daily routines that are so demanding of teachers’ time.

“Teachers have an interesting challenge with creativity. They must inspire it in their students while being creative themselves. All the while they juggle regular tasks that are part of their profession. Academic duties like lesson planning, testing, classroom management, and more will always be there. Teaching creatively means considering how creativity can apply to every responsibility a teacher has.”  Read more…

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

There’s an App for ThatWinApps

Your device, and student devices, have a ton of apps preinstalled.  Have you been curious about what each of them can help you do?  Check out the Windows Apps page on the ODL Resource Wiki and see what each app can do for you.

Encourage Collaboration with Kahoot!

Kahoot now comes with a built in Team Mode to facilitate collaboration among small groups.  In team mode, Kahoot! will provide teams time to discuss their answer choices before the team can submit a response.  The other features of Kahoot! work the same.  Check it out!

What’s the Code?LightBot

Want to give your students experience with coding?  Check out Lightbot which is now available through ABCYA.  Lightbot “introduces several principles of programming…like sequence, conditions, and loops” and encourages problem solving skills.  Give it a shot!

In the Media

Q&A with Makerspaces Innovator Laura Fleming on the Best Creative Spaces in K–12

EdTech: Focus on K–12 · Jena Passut · March 28, 2016:

‘All good makerspaces put kids first in all that they do.’  Laura Fleming has quite a bit of knowledge about makerspaces. She’s created them at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Read more. . .

Turning the Page: How the Librarian’s Role Continues to Evolve

Huffington Post · Robyn Shulman · April 15, 2016:

Do you remember walking into the school library during your elementary school years? For me, as an avid reader at a young age, I can easily recall various unique aspects about that magical room. Read more. . .

Upcoming Events:

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

  • May 3: Copyright and Fair Use for Digital Learning Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Dumbarton Middle School Library
  • May 4: ClassFlow: Customizations and Assessments Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Riderwood Elementary Room 28
  • May 10: ClassFlow: Customizations and Assessments Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Glenmar Elementary Library
  • May 11: Curating Digital Resources, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Fort Garrison Elementary Room 24
  • May 12: Bring Joy to the Classroom with Passion Projects (Webinar), 4-5 PM ET Passion Projects are an adapted model of the traditional Genius Hour movement, where students focus on a topic that holds their passionate interest; the model has the flexibility to align with project-based learning. This webinar will showcase examples of Passion Projects and guide participants through five easy steps to implement them for elementary and secondary learners.
  • May 14: 4th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair, 12 – 4 p.m. @ Reginald F. Lewis Museum. FREE admission, featuring Authors & Illustrators, Book Village, Performances, Crafts and Free Books. Elementary school library media specialists, please share this opportunity with your students!
  • May 17:
    • Elementary School Library Media Specialist PD, 8:30 – 11 a.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
    • Elementary School Library Media Specialist PD, 1 – 3:30 p.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
  • May 18:
    • Elementary School Library Media Specialist PD, 8:30 – 11 a.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
    • Elementary School Library Media Specialist PD, 1 – 3:30 p.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
    • ClassFlow Workshop, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Pine Grove Middle School Library
  • May 19:
    • BCPS Independent Research Seminar 6 – 8 PM @Perry Hall High School Library
    • Students from Franklin, Parkville, Perry Hall, and Randallstown high schools who participated in the Independent Research Seminar course will present their research findings in formal oral/multimedia presentations or poster sessions. Light refreshments will be served. High School library media specialists are encouraged to attend, and to invite their administrators and counselors– especially if your school has not been offering this unique course elective!
  • May 20:
    • High School Library Media Specialist PD, 8:30 – 11 a.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
    • Middle School Library Media Specialist PD, 12 – 2:30 p.m. @Greenwood Building E, Room 114
  • May 25: Liaison End of the Year Celebration, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. @Amped Up! Family Amphitheater

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