Socrative gets a facelift

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
  ~  Socrates

I gave a quick workshop on the newly renovated Socrative app to support the staff here at Hamlin.  The feedback was positive and I have already seen it at work in a number of classrooms.  It is a powerful tool for getting (and giving) immediate feedback about the success of lessons.  I love the way it encourages reflection in teachers and learners alike.

What does infinity have to do with the SAMR model? It’s all about mindfulness in the classroom.

When the Tech Team first landed on the SAMR model, it resonated with us. We had already launched 1:1 iPad and laptop initiatives, but searched for common language to discuss our ed tech vision. SAMR seemed like a perfect fit!

Except for one thing. We don’t view the integration and use of technology in the classroom as hierarchical. We view iPads, laptops, apps, 3D printers, etc., as tools. Just as you wouldn’t choose a jigsaw to hang a painting, you wouldn’t choose Microsoft Word as a programming app. There is a time and place for each tool and the key is to know how to choose the best tool and why it’s the best tool for the task at hand.

Since it’s creation by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, the SAMR model has been discussed alongside various images, like flow charts, ladders and scales. Another popular SAMR metaphor is attributed to a 2013 blog post by Tim Holt as well Jonathan Brubaker’s subsequent post, comparing each SAMR category to various types of coffee.

SAMR_InfinityAs you move through our presentation you will notice a new image created by the Hamlin Tech Team, where the infinity symbol is used to describe the flow as teachers mindfully select technology and its uses within the classroom. This is also meant to symbolize our decision not to weigh one SAMR category over another, but rather to raise teacher awareness and the capacity to make informed technological choices in the classroom. For example, Word (substitution phase) can make perfect sense for some projects and be the right tool for the task, whereas a blog (modification or redefinition) may be the right choice for other tasks.

Guiding teachers to discover new technology, be mindful of the pedagogical reasons for selecting one tool over another, as well as creating a safe space for openness, risk taking, and creative thinking, are more important to our team than striving for redefinition above all other categories.

We hope you enjoy our take on the SAMR model, originally presented to Hamlin faculty on May 12, 2014.


GAfE Summit

 I look at Google and think they have a strong academic culture. Elegant solutions to complex problems.
 ~ Mark Zuckerberg


another Northern California town, another set of dedicated and inspired educators*, and more opportunities to learn and to share my learning while expanding my PLN!

The EdTechTeam has a model that is working – they’ve doubled the number of events each of the last three years – and are helping teachers gain the technical skills they need to succeed in our ever-changing profession.  It takes courage to innovate anywhere – but “risking it all” in front of a room of students can be terrifying and meeting people in or around our districts that are doing just that – is nothing short of inspiring.  More importantly, this courageous risk-taking behavior is exactly the traits I want to see from my students, and if it isn’t modeled … they simply are not going to get it.

What the Heck is a Flubaroo – RoseVille:

* this event sold out in something like THREE hours! 

next adventure …

Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope – a slight change, and all patterns alter.
~ Sharon Salzberg

soundtrack to this post back to my international teaching days

Recently my family decided that it was time for me, mark, dad to try a new challenge.  The challenge came in a job offer in early December to join a dynamic learning community at a school that has been preparing its students to meet the changing challenges of their time for more than a hundred and fifty years.  I am excited for the new sHamlin Lion head only Transet of challenges that await me at the Hamlin School in San Francisco while at the same time thankful for the opportunities, friends, and learning that I continue to enjoy as part of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District.

I  take with me a set of new experiences, dynamic additions to my Personal Learning Network, and the knowledge that we will continue to learn and grow together and learn from each other as we strive to Innovate and redefine education, learning, and literacy today.  I hope that my new position will allow me the opportunity to re-focus on what motivates me – what is my passion:  EducationallTechnology by providing additional support in the realm of Information Technology.  Hamlin is providing me opportunity to learn and to share my learning as a Google Certified Teacher & Trainer, and a candidate for the Buck Institute for Education National Faculty – I am excited for the opportunities that lay ahead.

Hamlin Announcement


If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them
 ~ Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992)

In 2005 or 6 Bill Farren, Mark Richards and iBIE logo really began “noodling” with the idea of re-designing the technology curriculum at the Carol Morgan Middle School around problems.  We’d had success in amalgamating the Library and Technology curriculum around grade level standards in the elementary school and were motivated to use driving questions to help our MS re-organize their tech integration to help students.

Fast-Forward the better part of a decade that i continue to experiment with and coach teachers towards Problem Based Learning (PBL).  Of the many models that I’ve encountered the Buck Institute for Education’s (BIE) as been the most effective in transforming traditional instruction and learning.  So behind that belief i applied to be a part of they’re National Faculty (NF).  My application was accepted and the last two days have been spent honing my skills and learning with the largest cohort the Institute has ever seen.  You don’t need to ask too many people around education to realize that this is really “blowing up” and i am thankful for the opportunity to learn from the best in the business and hope to soon join their ranks as BIE – NF.

8 essential

GAfE 1:1 Summit – Napa

“How can we help students take information and turn it into intelligence?”
~ Jaime Casap


I am thrilled to be presenting at this year’s summit in Napa, keen to reconnect and hang out with my edTech peeps, and excited to add to my PLN through the days work.  New Tech High is a great innovator and host site whose very construction, layout, (and network) – make for a motivating spot for teacher to continue their individual learning journey. (ahas)

This conference I am talking about Flubaroo, my session is Thursday and is actually titled What the Heck is a Flubaroo:

can you make this presentation better?  email me to add your voice

a few A.D.D.-esque ahas from the presentations I attended:



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Google Search for Educators – Mark Wagner (materials:
Mark hosted the Google Teacher Academy that remains the single greatest PD 48 hours that I have every attended – San Antonio 2009.

google books
- adding your school’s library to a shelf … this essentially puts your entire school library into every single classroom at your school … or better on every single device!

google scholar
- “cited by” option
- citation help tool – teach what it means, but make a better use of your teaching time

google news
- as compared to my experience in high school of subscribing to Time OR NewsWeek
- access to more than 100 years of newspapers and primary sources

google alerts
- my own personal research staff!

rapidly advancing sector of Search
- searching by voice and images & the “OK Google” Chrome Extension



PBL & Free Tools
Lisa DeLapo (materials:

process v. product
citing pictures: saving as title, artist, and site where it was found

Kidblog – free, teacher managed, no student email address needed

adding “.qr” to the end of a shortened address to instantly create QR codes – create amazing and professional looking infographics

FAIL – First Attempts In Learning. - Because Lorem ipsum is just far too boring! - world cloud … with shapes!

KCI Merit – Bay Area PD
you don’t pay, they pay you.

Doctopos & G.Class.Folders

 Doctopus & Goobric Steby-by-steb

Assessment Magic – Going Paperless in School 2.0

Some other great information:

- Great G.Site as Student Portfolio Resource here



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Article Spinning – WHAT!??!

Innovation Day:  Best Day of School Ever.
filled with docs and forms, ideas and planning materials!

Karl Lindgren-Steich

Sarah Press


Genius Hour- 20% Time

Kate Petty – Presentation

- 20 slides in 20 seconds -
- the pitch, 5 weeks after the 20% time starts they “pitch” the idea to a room of peers, staff, parents, etc.
- end reflection becomes the final exam grade for the course

BayArea resource Kevin Brookhouser (blog)

All Presenter Resources

keeping it real …

I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about.
~ Jay-Z

A great video from the Buck Institute for Education (BIE)  that again hammers home what i have so often written about in this blog, that is that the real IS the deal when it comes to engaging with learners through better questioning and Problem Based Learning:

I am currently training to become a member of BIE’s National Faculty and I could not be more excited to continue to learn and grow alongside some fantastic educators.  In time I hope to share my personal PBL experiences and the essential elements of PBL with teachers around the world.

Disruptive Technologies…

“What, in your opinion, is the most ‘disruptive’ technology impacting teaching and learning for
K-8 schools?”

I was recently asked to speak for a short period on this topic.  Its not an easy one, made more difficult in that I need to wrap it into a short presentation.  My answer – Blended Learning.  I feel this is going to redefine roles of student, teacher, community, and technology in education and provide an opportunity for transformative change in education.

These are exciting times in which we learn!

NUSD – going google

“learners first, teachers second”
 ~ Will Richardson on teachers in the “New Tech World”

Three presentations to help Novato Unified technology leaders launch Google Apps for Education across their schools.  I shared these with the district’s tech leaders then passed them on, in the hopes they make them better and personalize them for their needs in bravely innovating:

Gone Google:

Collaborative Writing:

Forms & Flubaroo: