Recently, I attended a very thought provoking ASCD conference with Heidi Hayes Jacobs.  We talked about the new literacies: media, digital, and global. Here are a few of the thoughts that I took away from the conference. Dr. Hayes points out that today’s learners create and share knowledge differently from previous generations. She points out that modern learners are consumers of digital media.  They also need to become creators. We expose students to classical literature and encourage them to learn how to create by writing.  We should also treat digital media the same way.  Just as we encourage students to be discerning consumers and interpreters of the classics, we need to motivate them to also be discernable consumers and interpreters of digital media.  Students study literary classics.  They should also study examples of outstanding filmmaking and video making.  Just as we encourage our students to write, we should provide them with the opportunity to create their own visual media. Classical literacy and digital literacy  are both important.  My alma mater Bowdoin College has just redesigned a substantial part of their Library (Media Center) in order to promote digital literacy. As Bob Dylan pointed out many years ago,”The Times They are a-Changin”  I am  seeing some real success using WeVideo this year.  This cloud software is compatible with Google Chrome Books and Google Drive. It provides our students with a very accessible tool to start creating rather than only consuming.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs is also the founder of Click on the “Clearing House” Tab and then click on the drop-down menu next to “Show” for access to a large catalogue of  resources for use in all curriculum areas.  This is an impressive resource.

Teaching is Messy – a great cartoon from Matt Scott

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Reflections on being a computer technology integrator

Three years ago, I accepted  the  computer technology integration specialist position in our district.  For a period of time, I conducted my own computer technology classes.  The philosophy changed from treating computer training as something separate to integrating technology tools into all curriculum areas. These tools are not separate from day to day activities.  They are an integral part of them. I agreed that computers should be used in all classrooms in order to enhance student learning, creativity, and innovation.  Technology may not be appropriate for every task but it certainly paves the way to do things that were impossible only a few years ago. With this in mind, I began to try to undertake the task of working with both students and staff to enhance and hopefully even redefine learning in the classroom. Recently, I had the opportunity to reflect on my job description.  Here is an, at least, partial list of my responsibilities theses past few years. In some cases, teachers and students have embraced these tools either on their own or through collaboration with me.  Some have been more reticent.  Progress has been made but there is still work to do.  Becoming a Google Apps for Education district has played an very important role in following our vision of integration.  Blizzard Bags, Google Classroom and cloud softwares such as WeVideo have also contributed.  Publishing, student centered, project-based multimedia productions are one of the ways to take advantage of what we couldn’t imagine doing in the past.


Computer Technology Integrator:

Maintain a vision for district-wide integration of technology – Short and long range planning- model using technology to enhance student learning – model digital citizenship

Work with State and district guidelines and standards – ICT standards, district technology plan

Help draft district technology plan

Co-Chair Technology Taskforce – help coordinate and conduct professional development workshops

Model and teach research skills

Google Administrator for organizations, domains and aliases

Trainer for Google Apps, blizzard bags, classroom, etc

Trainer for software usage on board and in the cloud – work with different platforms

Group presenter in schools and Christa MCAuliffe Conference – staff development

Work with students and teachers to integrate technologies – collaboration – co-teach

One on one and group tutoring

On going monitoring of blogs, websites, twitter, etc. to keep up with latest trends, to find new ideas, trends, tools, and interact with experts – find and share resources

Try out new things – find out which software and hardware will fit student and teacher needs

Maintain blog  and website in order to share ideas and disseminate information with other staff members – how to guides

Curate other websites to maintain useful educational links

Work with IT to provide appropriate infrastructure for technology based instruction

Read periodicals and books and attend workshops – professional learning community

Contact staff members to collaborate – Schedule and keep appointments

Maintain computer lab equipment and green screen room

Recommend and arrange for purchase of equipment such as cameras, video cameras, computers, laptops, Chromebook carts, etc.

Troubleshoot software and hardware glitches on the fly, especially during class –  help teachers overcome fear of failure

Adapt to ever changing technologies – model lifelong learning

Learn from everyone including students

Work in different curriculum areas

Teaching background – ability to work  in a classroom environment

Written and oral communication skills

Design curriculum –  familiarity with educational philosophies, methods of instruction and align these with technology

Developing webinars – streaming video

Share visual imaging skills

Share skills learned from working with a publisher


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Free eBooks on Zing

Zing offers thousands of free eBooks.  You can create your own eBook library, create classes and assign books to specific students.  Books are leveled according to reading skill and as well as recommending what would be of interest to different students depending on their grade. When I signed up, I had to use our domain rather than govwentworth.


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Do More With Google-55 Tips To Make This School Year Yours

There are some interesting tips here.  I am sure most of you will want to “start your Lincoln car by voice”.

Unfortunately, “Instaccart” home grocery delivery isn’t available in New Hampshire.  Not yet anyway.

Editing “Word”, “Excel”, and “PowerPoint” documents in “Google Docs”, “Sheets”, and “Slides” could come in handy.


Who knew?  Check out the tips here:  55 Tips to make this school year yours

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The Moving Image Archive

This is a very large collection of old movie clips, TV shows, TV ads, and newsreels etc.  The clips cover an incredible array of topics.  For older folks, there is much nostalgia here.  For younger people, this is a chance to view clips they have not had the opportunity to see before.  Many if not most of the clips have creative  commons attributes and might be useful for school projects.

Moving Image Archive

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Link to the Trailer of My New Book “Murder At Stillwater Lodge

Here is the link to the trailer for my new book “Murder At Stillwater Lodge“.


Here is the trailer for “Catamount, North Country Thriller” 


Take some time off and take advantage of these great summer reads.

A fun Smart Phone App for Bird Lovers

If you have a smart phone check out Cornell University’s “Merlin Bird ID”.  If you see a bird you are not familiar with, answer five questions.  Where? When? What size? Color? Was the bird…?

When you have answered the questions, the app searches its database and creates a list of pictures for all of the possible matches.  It also provides information on the bird, a location map, and  recordings of the bird’s songs and calls.  “Merlin Bird ID” is available from the “Google App Store” and from “Google Play”.  Try playing the recordings and see how  nearby birds react.

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