June 2016

June Edition at a GlanceJune16

  • Wrapping up & ramping up with DLU
  • Introducing… a new ODL wiki resource
  • Food for Thought: The Noblest Profession
  • Editor’s Note: Fond Farewells
  • Accessing “The Cloud”
  • Transforming school libraries and learning
  • ODL Digest “easter egg hunt”

Inside BCPS

That’s a Wrap!

Digital Learning University workshops have concluded for the 2015-2016 school year. This year 157 workshops were offered by amazing instructors. The Office of Digital Learning would like to recognize all DLU Instructors.

Stacy Barry

Denise Bohnenstengel

Laura Burkhardt

Nicole Calhoun

Katie Cox

Christina Cumberland

Melissa Daniels

Jennifer Dingle

Karyn Ginesi

Jodi Grosser

Justin Hennaut

William Lancaster

Allison Lederer

Erin Ledford

Emily Moore

Chimere Neal

Gerald Oehler

Andrea Palmisano

Jen Piet

Kelly Ray

Kristina Redmer

Valerie Schaffer

Sandra Schmidt

Amy Stevens

Sonya Swift

Benjamin Wagner

Jennifer Weaver

Lou Wikes

Do you want to be a DLU Instructor? If so, fill out the online survey to express interest. (Please complete the survey even if completed previously.)

Check out the Summer 2016 Professional Development Catalog. DLU Workshop Modules and CPD Courses begin July 5, 2016.

Roadmap Rolloutroadmap

Have you checked out the ODL Wiki lately?  There’s a brand new section headlining the front page: A Rollout Roadmap.  If your school is looking ahead and preparing to receive 1:1 devices for your students, this new page was made for you.  Everything that you need to know about the device rollout from instructional planning and logistical concerns to communications with parents and community is linked on this one page.  Some of the information is curated from other places, but much of it is brand new!  Be sure to take the time to check it out.

Other Highlights:

What’s Tweeting?

Check out what’s been happening with @BCPSODL, #bcpsstat, and #bcpslms in our June 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: The Noblest Profession

Benjamin Wagner, Resource Teacher

I believe teaching is the noblest and most honorable profession of humankind. We are responsible for so much.  At the macro level we are responsible for the future of society and are conservators of the past. We are given limited resources to do this by a grudging public that too often thinks teaching as it was done in the past is good enough for today.  Despite all the difficulties, teachers continue to teach. The reasons are many. For me, it was the fascination of working with young minds.

The first set of articles are a resource for inquiring minds. The second article is great for visual thinkers and the third is a unabashed, feel-good article that will make you want to cheer.

Teaching and Learning Articles

Novemberlearning.com · Alan November

Somehow I had forgotten about Alan November. In my own professional circle he had once been in vogue but later, not so in vogue. I suppose it was during that latter time that he dropped from my consciousness. Subsequently when I happened upon his web site recently, I was amazed at the wealth of articles relevant to what we are doing in BCPS. If you like to reflect on our profession, you owe it to yourself to take a look at his articles.

“Alan November’s articles provide great insight into teaching, learning and preparing students for our digital world. His writing has appeared in many popular education magazines and journals, including eSchoolNews, Technology & Learning, School Library Journal, and Middle Ground. We hope you find these articles provocative and practical. Please use these pieces to start a dialogue with your team.”  Read more…

The Best Critical Thinking Definitions We’ve Seen on the Web

Global Digital Citizen Foundation · GDC Team

I think it is human nature that when we disagree with someone, we feel we are right and the other person is wrong. For example, I believe I am a good critical thinker. It’s just the rest of you I’m not so sure about. I even have doubts about the guy I see in the mirror in the morning. Where was his critical thinking last night? Tongue-in-cheek aside, I found this article by the GDC team surprisingly interesting. The quotations are rich and the infographics priceless.  Though thinking critically, I would have chosen a better title…

“What is critical thinking? How can I foster it in my students and staff? What does it look like when it’s being done right? What are some of the best critical thinking definitions I can find? Sometimes the best understanding comes by observing.” Read more…

Special Needs Teacher Comes To The Rescue On Flight

NPR · Weekend Edition · May 7, 2016

I feel public school teachers are undervalued in our society today, so when I saw this article on Diane Ravitch’s blog, I wanted to go to the source for more information. Instead of, “Is there a doctor on board?” the cry was, “Is there a teacher on board?” The way Sophie Murphy responded by thinking, feeling, and doing makes me proud to be a teacher.

“When a teenager with special needs refused to get back into his seat on a recent flight, the crew asked if there were any teachers on board and Sophie Murphy answered the call.” Read more…

Editor’s Note: Fond Farewells

avatar.jpg.320x320pxAs a Resource Teacher in the Office of Digital Learning, Benjamin Wagner has been contributing to this publication since it inception.  The section entitled Food for Thought became Ben’s responsibility and it was a perfect fit.  In addition to curating thought-provoking articles each month, Ben took great care to choose articles with similar themes and direct connections to district initiatives.  If you never had the time to read the Food for Thought sections, I highly recommend that you go back and do so.

Ben is retiring at the conclusion of this school year and he will be greatly missed by his colleagues in ODL.  Not just because of his amazing contributions to this publication, but for all the ways he has improved teaching and learning in the Baltimore County Public Schools System.  If you have worked with Ben at some point during the 43 years he has been with BCPS and have witnessed the impact that he has made, please send him an email before the last day of school to congratulate him, carla2thank him, and let him know how much he will be missed.

Additionally, the Office of Digital Learning is celebrating the retirement of our Library Media Assistant, Carla Weber.  Carla has been with Baltimore County Public Schools for 27 years.  She has been an invaluable asset to team BCPS by cataloging and processing school library materials for the entire district.  Her hard work and dedication will be greatly missed.

On behalf of the Office of Digital Learning, I bid a fond farewell to both of these amazing team members.

– Jennifer Weaver, Resource Teacher, Editor of the ODL Digest

Tips, Tricks, and Tools

Save Documents to the Cloud

OneDrive allows you to save all of your files to the cloud giving you 24/7 everywhere access.  To upload files to your OneDrive visit www.bcps.org/onedrive and log in using your BCPS credentials.  Be sure to select “Organizational Account” when logging in.  Select “upload” and begin uploading your files.


Take Control of your Keyboard

Your keyboard’s control button holds a lot of power. Check out these keyboard shortcuts.  Just press and hold you control button along with the desired function.


In the Media

Librarians are taking the lead in the digital transformation

eSchool News · May 25, 2016 · Bridget McCrea

Our own Joquetta Johnson highlights how she is applying best practices from our BCPS PD sessions for library media specialists to her library program and practice at Randallstown High.  Read more…

Popularity of Ed Tech Not Necessarily Linked to Products’ Impact

Education Week · May 2016 · Benjamin Herold

Digital learning tools that fit well within existing classrooms and don’t disrupt the educational status quo tend to be the most widely adopted, despite their limited impact on student learning, an analysis of ed-tech products designed for higher education concludes. Read more . . .

Technology as a Tool to Support Instruction 

Education World · May 31, 2016 · Lynne Schrum

This week, in an Education World “edu-torial,” Lynne Schrum presents her personal perspective on the ways in which technology can enhance learning — and calls on educators to take a leadership role in determining the ways in which technology is used to support educational goals. Read more. . .

 Transforming School Libraries and Learning:

Upcoming Events:

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

Digital Learning University Summer Offerings:

Summer Reading Program Dates:Summerread

  • Theme: “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!”
  • Dates to Remember:
    • June 20 – Summer Reading Club officially begins
    • August 14 – Summer Reading Club officially ends
    • August 28 – Last day to pick up Read-to-Me and Elementary prizes
    • September 6 – Last day to pick up Young Adult and Adult Summer Reading prizes

Library Media Specialist Professional Learning:

ODL Digest Contest:

How well do you pay attention to the ODL Digest?  Did you notice the literary connection made in each edition during the 2015-16 school year?  The first person to email jweaver with a list of these “easter eggs” and their calendar connections will receive a small token of congratulations from ODL.  Happy hunting!


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