Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 2008 EdTech News

Welcome to the December edition of the Local District 6 Educational Technology Newsletter!

My Favorite New Video:

The Networked Student, by Wendy Drexler, was inspired by CCK08, a Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course offered by George Siemens and Stephen Downes during Fall 2008. It depicts an actual project done by her high school students.
Are we preparing our students for the networked world of learning? Please offer your comments below in the comment section.

Table of Contents
Local District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
District News
Professional Development
Awards and Competition
Grants and Funding
Technology Gems

Upcoming Local District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
Come join us as we learn together how to use technology tools to communicate, collaborate and create with educators and students both locally and globally in a networked environment.
All meetings will be held at the Local District 6 office, 3rd floor conference room, from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on the third Thurday of the month.
Local District 6
5800 S. Eastern
Commerce, CA 90040

January 15th, 2009 - Blogging as an Educator
February 19th, 2009 - Blogging for Students
March 19th, 2009 - LAUSD EdTech Services/ Social Networks
April 16th, 2009 - Wikis in the Classroom
May 21st, 2009 - New Media Literacies

If anyone would like to share their learning in these meetings, please let me know. The more we share, the more we learn together.
(Back to Table of Contents)

District/County News

Apple Contract

The Apple contract has now been approved. Schools can purchase Apple products by visiting

Microsoft Settlement K-12 Voucher Program
Most all schools will have the opportunity to benefit from the Microsoft Settlement through an equipment refresh program. Vouchers will be in the amount of approximately $22 - $23 per student, based on their ADA. Schools will be able to purchase laptop, desktop, smartboard, and LCD packages. The refresh process will begin at the beginning of the new year and it is hoped that all equipment will be in schools by June 2009. More details on this program will follow.

LAUSD's Infotech Student Showcase will be on Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 Students and teachers should be thinking about the projects they will be showcasing at this wonderful, student centered event. Mark your calendars and let the fun begin. Students at this year's showcase will have the opportunity to apply to present at the 2010 CUE Conference Student Technology Showcase.

(Back to Table of Contents)

Professional Development

Online Learning
  • Paul Burns will be offering a series of 2 hour courses on Mondays on services that LAUSD offers for students and educators. Registration for these courses will be available through LAUSD's Learning Zone after the first week in January. Announcement will be made when these are available online.
The Los Angeles County Office of Education has a good selection of courses available on using technology as a tool in the classroom.
  • Tech Academies, both Level 1 and Level 2, are week long courses designed to immerse the learner in 21st century literacy skills that can be used in the classroom. LAUSD employees can take these course during off track time and recieve $400 compensation upon completion of the academy.
  • Instructional Technology Outreach courses are offered at various locations around the Los Angeles area.
The annual Computer Using Educators conference, one of the finest educational technology conferences in the nation, will take place this year in Palm Springs March 5 - 7. This is a wonderful way to learn and network with educators from around the state and beyond. Dr. Robert Marzano will be the Keynote Speaker.

ADE (Apple Distinguished Educators) 2009
The application window is now open for applying to become an Apple Distinguished Educator. This is a wonderful opportunity to work with an amazing community of educators dedicated to creating the conditions where 21st century literacies are a priority. Deadlines for application is January 31st, 2009
(Back to Table of Contents)

Awards and Competition

Microsoft Web Design Curriculum, Software, and Publishing Contest
Microsoft is offering free web design software (a site license to Microsoft Expression) and a free semester-long curriculum to all interested high schools who will participate in the pilot curriculum which will culminate in a web design project. The project will begin in January, with the contest finalists being announced at this year's LAUSD Infotech on May 2nd, 2009 The contest will look similar to this website, although the details of the contest dates will be different. More details will be provided as soon as they are available. If you are interested, please let me know.

KLCS Video in the Classroom Awards Competition
Eligibility: all classroom generated video from Grades PreK - 12 and Adult School, produced after March 14th, 2008
Deadline: February 17th, 2009 5:00 p.m
Recomended length of video: 15 minutes or less
Flyer with more information and Application download

(Back to Table of Contents)

Grants and Funding

Intel Schools of Distinction
from the website:
Intel honors U.S. schools that have demonstrated excellence in math and science education as Intel Schools of Distinction. Eighteen schools – three elementary, three middle and three high schools in each of two categories – math and science – will be selected as Finalists, receiving a cash grant for $2,500 from the Intel Foundation. Six winners - one elementary, one middle and one high school in each of the two categories receive $10,000 cash grants and more than $100,000 in products and services from sponsors.
Grant Application Deadline: February 17, 2009 5:00 p.m. PST
For more information and access to the online application, please visit the website.

Toyota Tapestry Grant
from the website
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and the National Science Teachers Association are pleased to announce the 19th Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program. This year, 50 large grants of up to $10,000 each and 20-32 mini-grants of up to $2,500 will be awarded to K-12 teachers of science in the United States. The categories are Physical Science Application, Environmental Science Education, and Integrating Literacy and Science.
Grant Application Deadline: January 21, 2009 11:59 EST
For more information, please visit the website.

Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision Awards
From the Website:
ExploraVision encourages K-12 students of all interest, skill and ability levels to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. ...

ExploraVision prizes include:

  • First Prize (4 teams): U.S. EE Savings Bond worth $10,000 at maturity for each student.
  • Second Prize (4 teams): U.S. EE Savings Bond worth $5,000 at maturity for each student.
  • Regional Prize (24 teams): A Toshiba notebook computer for each regional winning school, and a special gift for each student, teacher and mentor.
  • Honorable Mention Recognition
For more information about this opportunity, please visit the website. There will be a special online web seminar on January 14th, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. that will help applicants avoid disqualification. Details are on the website.
Application Deadline: January 28, 2009

More Grants and Funding information can be found at:
E-School News - Grants and Funding - free registration required
Grant Wrangler - My new favorite tool for finding grants.

(Back to Table of Contents)

Tech Gems
  • Free Rice
    This website donate 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program for each question answered correctly to help end world hunger. There are many categories to choose from, including science, math, and art. This is a nice opportunity for students to participate in a noble cause.

  • Windows Live Skydrive - 25 GB Free Online Storage!
    Windows Live seems like the best kept secret (at least to me) around. This free, online storage space not only offers the space, but the ability to organize in folders, and much more. Check it out!
  • Drawing/Painting Programs - Several free programs I know you'll enjoy:
    SumoPaint - Create and edit images with professional quality tools online. No registration required.
    SplashUp - Free, online image editor with easy, yet professional tools.
    Paintbrush - If you have a Mac, you'll love Paintbrush. This is a desktop application that looks much like the old KidPix, without all the bells and whistles. If you need just a simple drawing tool, you'll be very happy with this application.
    Kerpoof - For younger students, this online application is a must. Not only can you draw and paint, but it has a storytelling application as well.
  • allows you to take the url of a YouTube movie and upload it quickly to, where it can be watched or shared with others. The movies transfer in only a few minutes, and this is a great advantage if you don't want to download and store YouTube videos locally. It's great for uploading and sharing other videos as well. I've found that the embed feature is not liked by some applications. Hopefully, they are working on that.
  • Real World Math using Google Earth
    This site is full of authentic math lessons and projects that help students use conceptual understanding as it applies to real world math problems.
(Back to Table of Contents)

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (ITAF),
LAUSD Local District 6, Office of Instruction
Phone: (323)278-4903
E-mail: janice.stearns (at)

Paul Burns
ITAF, Instructional Technology Branch, in support of Local District 6
E-mail: paulburns (at)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

EdTech Cadre Meeting - November 20, 2008

Hello All,
Here are the resources for the Local District 6 EdTech Cadre Meeting, taking place on November 20th, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.

Below this post, you will find a UStream feed and live chat space for those who will be attending virtually. It's not certain whether these tools will work, but we will give them a try....

Introductions and Information: 4:00 to 4:20

Welcome to the educators from the technology committee at Gage Middle School, who will be joining us virtually via video-conference.

Grants and Funding:
CUELA Innovative Technology Mini Grant

Qualification: Current CUELA Member

Award Amount: $250-$1000 + CUE 2009 Conference Registration in Palm Springs

Application Deadline: Friday, February 5, 2009

Riordan Foundation Grants
Deadline: November 30th, 2008

Town Hall Meeting on Microsoft Settlement
Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at Reed Middle School

Free Trial
NetTrekker - Please contact me for a free trial of Nettrekker

Professional Development

Smartboard Salary Point Class
Independence EL - 11/24, 12/1, 12/8. 1/12 15 hours total - 1 salary point
Register on Learning Zone under Local District 6 Professional Development Program

Online Learning in the Classroom
Eluminate Sessions (Virtual meeting) - 12/8 or 12/15 3:30 - 4:15 Register on Learning Zone under Local District 6 Professional Development Program starting Tuesday, Nov. 24

Infotech Is Coming!
May 2, 2009 Los Angeles Convention Center. Start planning to showcase student work now!

Hands-On Workshop - 4:20 to 5:00
VoiceThread Workshop

My Presentation
Voice Thread in the Classroom
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: voicethread)

Discussion and Networking - 5:00 - 5:15

Live audio only stream today (due to bandwidth issues), courtesy of

Video clips at Ustream

Live online chat, courtesy of Coveritlive

I hope you can join us for great learning with a group of passionate educators.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LD6 Educational Technology News for October 2008

Greetings to all Educational Technology Leaders,
The October issue of Local District 6's EdTech Newsletter has finally arrived! I hope your new year is going smoothly and you're full of energy and ideas for engaging your students in a new year of learning.


Upcoming Local District 6 Educational Technology Leadership Cadre Meeting for 2008-2009
District News
Professional Development
Grants and Funding
Technology Gems

LD6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings for 2008-2009
All meetings will be held on the third Thursday of the month from 4:00 - 5:15 at the Local District 6 Office (unless someone would like to volunteer their school to host our meeting)

Local District 6 3rd Floor Conference Room
5800 S. Eastern
Commerce, CA 90040

Our first meeting of the month will be Thursday, October 16th.
When: 4-5:15
Where: Local District 6 Office - 3rd Floor Conference Room
5800 S. Eastern, Commerce, 90040

At our first meeting, we'll brainstorm some ideas about upcoming meetings. We'll also share some of the latest news. Please bring an edtech tip, application, or activity to share with all of us. We can have a cool tools and tech tips for the classroom session. Your input is appreciated. Additionally, we'll join in briefly to the fireside chat with Professor Stephen Heppell from the Pre Conference Keynote of the K12 Online Conference. (See details below.)

Upcoming meetings will be Nov. 20th, Jan. 15th, Feb. 19th, March 19th, April 16th, and May 21st. I look forward to an exciting year!

District News and Announcements

EdTech Profile - from Joe Oliver

All LAUSD certificated staff are reminded that the 2008-2009 window for mandatory annual completion of the EdTech Profile ( formerly CTAP2 ) survey closes on October 31, 2008 at 5:00 PM. This survey is completed individually, online and takes approximately 30 minutes. The survey can be completed in a single session or over multiple sessions. Aggregate information from this survey is used to tailor professional development offerings and to study the impact of various grants and initiatives.

Introducing the Dell E-Series of LAUSD Computers, by Arey Jones - Lunch and Learn - November 6th, 1:30 p.m. at South East High School
Join Tiffany Stone from Arey Jones to test LAUSD Dell models in person. Lunch is provided, as well as a chance to win a free Dell Printer. Please RSVP to Tiffany Stone by Monday, Nov. 3rd. Download the flyer for more information.

Professional Development
K12 Online Conference 2008 - Amplifying the Possibilities -
October 20 - October 31
Absolutely the best conference to learn and network with others who are learning about the possibilities of using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. During the two week span of the conference, there will be 40 presentations available in 4 different strands, released throughout the two weeks. The strands are Getting Started, Prove It (research to back up the use of technology in the classroom), Kicking It Up a Notch, and Leadership. There will be live events with the presenters, as well as the culminating 24 hour "When Night Falls", where educators get together from around the world to reflect on their learning. The schedule will have links to each presentation. The podcast channel and rss feeds will allow you to subscribe to the content. Join the fun and learn with global colleagues, anytime - anywhere. There's a guide for first time attendees that's very useful. Please download and print the flyer to share with colleagues.

21st Century Learners Symposium - October 24th - California State University, Los Angeles
California Technology Assistance Project (Region 11) at Los Angeles County of Education, will host their second conference on 21st Century learning. Keynote speakers are Marc Prensky and David Thornburg The deadline for registration for this conference is Friday, October 17th at 5:00 p.m.

CUELA Conference - November 15th, 2008 - Virgil Middle School
This fantastic day of learning will feature great workshops on using tools like Google Earth, Podcasting, Blogging, Digital Storytelling, and so much more. The Keynote Speaker is Robert Craven, Educational Technology Coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education. Robert was formerly the technology coordinator at South Gate Middle School! How wonderful this conference is going to be! For more information and to register, visit

Grants and Funding
I recently wrote a post on my personal learning blog about Grants and Funding. I hope you will find the information there useful.

Technology Gems

K12 Online Conference
Foremost on my list of gems this month is the upcoming K-12 Online Conference. The learning that can take place there is incredibly valuable, and is a model of 21st century learning - anytime, any place, any pace (Thanks to Liz Kolb for that last part - "any pace"). Please view some of the sessions as they appear, and participate in the live events. It's a free, rich experience that's a wonderful learning opportutnity.
You can now listen to the Pre-Conference Keynote by Professor Stephen Heppel (especially the last 20 minutes!), join him for a fireside chat at 4 p.m. via Elluminate (web conference) on Thursday, Oct. 16th, and scroll to the bottom of the pre-conferernce session page to add to the VoiceThread your reflections on the three essential questions he poses. This is just the start to a wonderful 2 weeks of sustained learning!

Bit by Bit Seedlings Podcast with Liz Kolb
In this podcast, Seedlings show hosts Alice Barr, Cheryl Oakes, and Bob Sprankle have an engaging conversation with Liz Kolb, who did one of the outstanding presentations from last year's K12 Online Conference on using cell phones in the classroom, called Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools. This interview is an update on all the new ways that cell phones can be used as learning tools. Liz's philosophy is that we should be using what students have in their pockets as learning tools in the classroom. How many of our schools ban the use of these powerful technologies? This is well worth a listen! Also check out the links in the show notes. You'll be amazed!

StoryTelling Resources Online by Mathew Needleman
Mathew Needleman, an LAUSD literacy coach, Apple Distinguished Educator, and Educational Technology Leader, offers a rich collection of online resources on storytelling in a recent blog post. There are so many ways to engage our students with these resoruces. One of my favorites from this list is BookPals Storyline Online, where members of the Screen Actors Guild read favorite books via streaming video.
Mathew's blog, Creating LifeLong Learners, is a must read for all educators. He has great suggestions for Open Court, digital storytelling, and much more.

Election 2008 Resources
Get your students involved in learning about the U.S. election process. There are many web resources that engage students in many authentic activities to learn about our national election.

I'm looking forward to a great year of learning with all of you!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

EdTech Video Conference - August 21st, 2008

The following message was sent to me by Paul Burns, EdTech ITAF, District 6 liason, about the upcoming video conference on August 21st at Nimitz Middle School on Thursday, August 21st. I hope you can join us.
To All,

I hope all is well with you and you are enjoying any time off you can fit into your schedule.

I wanted to keep everyone in the loop on the series of VTCs the Ed Tech Group will be hosting this year throughout the District. The first one is scheduled for Thursday, August 21st from 3-5 PM in the library at Nimitz MS. Below you will find links to the Ed Tech Reference Guide as well as the flyer for the event.

The email below was sent to all Local District Superintendents.

Please contact any one you feel may benefit from this VTC on the applications that the Ed Tech Group will be supporting and how schools and teachers can take advantage of these applications. With the District's push to move more of our operations to the local district offices, administrators and teachers will need to be aware of the new way our office will be handling requests for video conferencing, face to face professional development, Moodle shells and other on line learning opportunities.

If you know of someone who you think would benefit from this conference, please share this information with them.

We will be hosting other video conferences in the near future on a variety of topics. If you have a location that would like to host one of these, please let me know.

Thank you for your continued support,

Paul Burns
Ed Tech ITAF
Local District 6 Liaison

EdTech Reference Guide
Event Flyer:
Read this document on Scribd: EdTech Group VideoConference

Friday, August 01, 2008

Summer Learning

For those of you on summer break, I hope you are enjoying a well deserved break, refreshed and ready to face another exciting year. For those of you already in the classroom, I hope your year has started well.
I wanted to share some of the wonderful learning opportunities available for your listening and reading pleasure this summer. Grab your iPod (or other .mp3 player) and enjoy!

Free AudioBook Download - The World is Flat
Get it while you can! From now until August 4th, you can download a free audio copy of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. The New York Times columnist is offering this free download of his bestseller book in preparation of debuting his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Building Learning Communities Podcasts
In mid July, the Building Learning Communities Conference, hosted by Alan November's group, took place in Massachusetts. This is a small, very intense conference focused on student learning, using technology as a tool. Bob Sprankle, an educator from Maine, has taken the time to record and publish the very best from that conference at his blog and Podcast site, Bit by Bit.
Included in the collection is his very own BLC presentation, Podcasting with Purpose, and the following:
Podcast 67 - Ewan McIntosh's Keynote "Not All Native Wit: From Creativity to Ingenuity"
Podcast 68 - Alan November - "Teaching Zack Webliteracy"
Podcast 69 - John Davitt - "Setting Learning Free - The Difference Engine Runs Again"
Podcast 70 - Joyce Valenza - "Web 2.0 Meets Information Fluency: Designing Projects for 21st Century Learners"
Podcast 71 - Dr. Pedro Noguera's Keynote - "Changing the Culture of Schools: Creating Conditions that Promote Student Achievement"
Podcast 72 - Darren Kuropatwa and Clarence Fischer - "Everything New is Old Again"
Podcast 73 - Follow up to Ewan McIntosh's Keynote
Seedling Podcast #33 - Reflections on BLC

All of these sessions are quality learning opportunities. Thanks to Bob and the Building Learning Communities Conferences for making thse available for us. Subscribe to Bob Sprankle's Bit by Bit podcast and read his blog for some quality summer learning.
clipped from

blog it

NECC Podcasts and Video Streaming

The National Education Computing Conference has published their podcasts and their video stream to share their conferernce, which took place in San Antonio, Texas in late June, early July.

My Shared Reading
I'm using Google Reader to share my favorite blog posts. It might give you some ideas and also give you a choice of bloggers to which you might want to subscribe.

Please enjoy the warm sunshine and the abundance of quality learning opportunities!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Special May 2008 Edition

Hello All,
There are a few great resources I wanted to share with you.

All K-5 Schools - Smartboard/Student Response System Matching Grant
The Riordan Foundation is offering a matching grant opportunity to purchase Smartboards, Projectors and Student Response Systems. Please visit the website for more details and access to the grant applications and guidelines. The grant deadline is June 1st, so a quick response is necessary. Since this grant would pay for half of the equipment, it might be a great way to get some very useful equipment for K-5 classrooms.

Laptop Cart Management Presentation
At our May 2008 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meeting, David Billett, Technology Coordinator at Gage Middle School shared some very useful information with us in his presentation on laptop cart management. David manages many laptop carts at his school and had some great recommendations for us.
At the last minute, we decided to stream and record his presentation. I used the built-in camera and microphone from my computer and the free application, Ustream. Except for my head constantly popping into the corner, the recording is okay. If you missed David's presentation, you can see it here:

Part 1

Part 2

You can also watch both videos from the channel I created at:

David has also shared the forms and documents he has created for managing laptops in a school. You can find these documents in our LD6 EdTech Cadre Group at If you are not yet a member of this group, please request membership and you will be added to the group.

A Special Note:
Thanks to all of you who have come to our monthly meetings throughout the year. Your support, leadership, and dedication are so greatly appreciated. You all are the best! Thank you!

Grants and Funding
I recently received a correspondence from the president of, Joseph B. Mizereck, letting me know about the resources at He states, "My focus is on helping K12 teachers and administrators find funding for their schools. I would think your readers would appreciate learning about the site."
An educator can search through the various types of grants to find one that matches their needs. There are many resources on different types of grants and funding available . The top section of the front page lists recently posted grants. The bottom section has some useful resources, including a "Good Stuff for Teachers" section that lists funding specifically targeted for classroom teachers. I, too, think you might find this useful.

Friday, May 09, 2008

LD6 Educational Technology News for May 2008

Hello All,
It's hard to believe that May is here and our school year will soon be ending. It always seems that the year goes by so quickly. I hope your year has been great and that your next year will be even greater!

Table of Contents
  1. Technology Leadership Cadre Meeting - Our Last One of the Year!
  2. District News
  3. Great Opportunities
  4. Grants
  5. Technology Gems
Technology Leadership Cadre
Our last meeting this year will be next Thursday, May 15th., at South East High School. It will be in Devery Rodgers' classroom. Thanks to Devery Rodgers and Vic Pacheco for hosting the meeting at their school. It will be from 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Our guest presenter is David Billet, technology coordinator at Gage Middle School. He will be sharing some laptop management tips, as well as some other tips for managing a successful technology program. David has left a discussion question for you in our Local District 6 EdTech Group. Visit the discussion to reply. Please add to the discussion.
We will also be doing a round table sharing of how to make our meetings better and what else you might want. Please bring your ideas and share them at the meeting. If you will not be able to join us, but would like to join the discussion, post your ideas in the discussion at our groups site at

May 15th, 2008 4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
South East High School
2720 Tweedy Blvd.
South Gate, CA 90280

View Larger Map

District News

Site Computer Inventory

Each school site is responsible for updating their site computer inventory as detailed in Memorandum 4170 (mem-4170). The memorandum outlines several ways this can be done. One of the options mentioned is to update the inventory at . This information was given to all principals several months ago. Please make sure that this has been completed.

CAMSP Science Leadership Institute
There are still a few spaces available for this summer's week long wonderful professional development experience at the Thacher Academy in Ojai, CA. This is available for free to all 4-8 grade science teachers. Teachers will also be able to earn salary points. Join us for an incredible week of learning science for the classroom, using technology as a tool. Download the flyer for more information and registration details.

Great Opportunities

AFI ScreenNation
Come visit ScreenNation, AFI’s (American File Institute's) new video-sharing community for middle and high-school students and the educators who support them. Registration is free. There are scheduled challenges for students around a theme. Students can win prizes for their videos. The current theme is Your Home Town's Claim to Fame. This challenge will accept videos until June 30th, with winners announced on July 15th.
The production tips are wonderful. Here's a video on the basics of conducting an interview:

More tips can be found on the website. I discovered these embeddable videos when reading Joe Brennan's Digital Storytelling Blog post entitled: To Transition or...
He embeds a wonderful video about transitions, those special features that students (and educators) like to (over)use. Read his post for more details.

EdZone - from California's K-12 High Speed Network
From their website: T
he California K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) is offering a comprehensive set of tools to support teaching and learning in California classrooms. This free suite of tools, edZone, currently includes blogging, videoconference scheduling and a file sharing system where educators can upload videos, podcasts, images and documents.
If you have been wondering about where to upload and share your videos and podcast episodes, this sounds like a great place to do so. They will be adding social networking, wikis, and instant messaging this summer. This is a fantastic offering by our California State Department of Education! Registration is free!

My Tech Desk
As I was browsing the above site, I re-discovered MyTechDesk, a free offering from the California Department of Education's TechSets project. This is a free way to manage requests for technical assistance. I know we all use LAUSD's Help Desk, but often, there are many requests that don't require the use of this service. MyTechDesk could help you manage and keep track of all your requests.

Google Teacher Academy
As I mentioned in my last post, Google is once again offering the Google Teacher Academy on June 25th in Mountain View, California. The application is due May 28th. For more information, please visit I hope many of you decide to apply. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and collaborate with outstanding passionate educators with innovative tools.

LACOE's Professional Development
Please take advantage of all LACOE has to offer. There are workshops, week-long institutes, and events that are outstanding. Visit their website at for all the great opportunities.

Grants and Funding

From LACOE'S Grants and Funding Page:

ASM International's Living in a Material World
Amount: $500
Target: K-12 Teachers
Deadline: May 25th, 2008
ASM International Foundation's mission is to excite young people worldwide in materials careers. To help teachers bring the "real world" of materials science into the classroom, the ASM International Foundation is awarding 10 grants of $500 each to teachers, K-12.

From E-School News

Save Our History Grants
Museums, historic sites, historical societies, preservation organizations, libraries, and archives are invited to partner with a local school or youth group and apply for funding to help preserve the history of their communities.
Amount: Up to $10,000.00
Deadline: June 6, 2008

Content Meets Technology Sweepstakes from eSchoolNews
In 250 words or less, students and teachers are asked to describe their vision for the role of technology in education. This gets posted on a Google Maps mashup Refer others to the site and get credit for more chances to win.
Amount: Up to $8,500 per classroom of Interwrite Products
Deadline: May 13, 2008 (I know - it's late.)

From my Personal Learning Network
Live Green Teacher Grants
From their site:
What’s your vision for inspiring the next generation of eco-smart, energy aware kids?...
Earn a $1,000 LIVE GREEN grant - 40 grants will be awarded to teachers for the most forward-thinking ideas. In addition, the 40 recipients will be treated to an exciting online professional development program designed to help them reach their school’s specific green initiatives, including a free digital camera to document and share the experience!
Deadline: June 15, 2008

There are a wealth of additional grants at Free registration required.

Grant Wrangler is another site that lists recent grants for K-12 educators.

Technology Gems
From the most recent Bit by Bit Seedlings Podcast...

Read the Words

A service that will convert text to speech that can be listened to on the website, downloaded as an .mp3 for portable devices, or embedded on a website. This would be a great tool to use with learners with diverse needs, including English language learners.

This great online application works like TinyURL to make long web addressess shorter, but you can also personalize them and make them permanent.

From my personal learning network...

Using Google Docs in the Classroom

A great resource for teachers who want to learn to use this great tool.

Mr. Winkle Wakes
Mathew Needleman, a literacy coach in LAUSD, has created a great video to make you think about education and how we use technology. Enjoy!

I will be posting a special edition in the next few weeks of student projects that people have sent me. Please send me links to the great work you and your students are creating, so I can include it in the post.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (ITAF),
LAUSD Local District 6, Office of Instruction
Phone: (323)278-4903
E-mail: janice.stearns (at)

Paul Burns
ITAF, Instructional Technology Branch, in support of Local District 6
Phone: (213)219-0836
E-mail: paulburns (at)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happy Teacher's Day!

Today is National Teacher's Day. Here's the good news straight from Google and CUE:

Google Teacher Academy - at the Googleplex
Mountain View, CA
June 25, 2008
Applications Due: May 28, 2008

Since today is National Teacher Day, we thought it would be the perfect day to announce that Google's FREE training program for K-12 educators is back at the Google headquarters! Outstanding educators from across the country (and beyond!) are encouraged to apply for the Google Teacher Academy taking place on Wed, June 25, 2008.

Learn more about the program and apply online!
Google Teacher Academy
June 25, 2008
Mountain View, CA

Applications Due: May 28, 2008
I hope many of you decide to apply for this amazing learning opportunity. It’s great to surround yourself with such a wonderful community of passionate learners! I highly recommend it as an outstanding experience.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

LD6 Educational Technology News for April 2008

Welcome to the April 2008 Edition of the Local District 6 EdTech Newsletter.

In this edition:
  1. Local District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
  2. Our Teachers and Students at InfoTech 2008
  3. Professional Development
  4. Technology Gems
Upcoming Local District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
Our next Local District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre meeting will be this Thursday, April 17th, from 4:00 to 5:15 at Local District 6, in the 3rd floor conference room.
5800 S. Eastern, Commerce, 90040

Our agenda includes our guest presenter, Mr. Vic Pacheco, South East High School, who will be sharing how he uses free finance tools like Yahoo and Google Finance to provide authentic learning opportunities for students.

Additionally, Mr. Paul Guenthner, Specialist with LAUSD Online Learning Programs, will also give an overview of online course options for students. This was a topic in our group discussion forum. I know this will be of interest to all secondary teachers, including middle school educators.

If you are unable to attend, I will have a virtual meeting room set up and also will record for later viewing.

I hope you can attend our meeting this Thursday!

Our last meeting of the school year will be on Thursday, May 15th at SouthEast High School.

Infotech 2008
Congratulations to all participants in LAUSD's Infotech 2008. Your work is truly inspirational. Below is a list of participants and links to their work, if available online. BRAVO!

Student Competition
Gage Middle School - Mr. David Billett-
Middle School 1st Place Winners! Click here to read the article and see their project.

Other Local District 6 competition contestants include the following teachers and their students at South Gate Middle School:
Jennifer Dodge
Thomas Castle
Tamara Moore
Diana Chhuo

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful submissions to the Infotech Student Competition.

Student Showcases


Montara Elementary
Michelle Ngai - Giving Students a Voice with VoiceThread! Ms. Ngai's fantastic website

San Miguel Elementary
Mariana Espinoza - Podcasting: Myths and Legends of California Native Americans
Carlos Gomez - The Puma Power Podcast Crew-Enhanced podcast based on themes from 4th grade OCR curriculum (Check out all the amazing student work published on this website!)
Roberto Mancilla - Native American Reports

Middle School

Gage Middle School

Francine Avila - Mentos: The Freshmaker
Beth Billett - Mathnology
David Billett - Digital Video Production: Public Service Announcements
Lorena Hernandez - The Best of Things

South East Middle School
Cynthia Walker - Endangered Species Research Report
Tim Schlosser - Independent Study: Using Technology to Explore our Passions

South Gate Middle School
Ann Gonzales - Geometric PowerPoint Presentation
Jose Gutierrez - The Crusades (IMOVIE)
Michelle Touceda - Create a Powerpoint presentation responding to The Giver
Xiomara Benitez - Explorations in Science
Mike Albert - Podcasting in History - Tech! Small Learning Community Podcast (They even podcasted from Infotech!)
Tamara Moore - Integrating Literacy and Technology throughout the Content Areas
Diane Chhuo - DataMyte and My Sweet Quince
Marivenus Magbitang - Explorations in Science Podcast
Tom Castle - Understanding States of Matter through Animation
Jenny Dodge - Iron Filings Newspaper
Edwin Moralia - I want to go to college
Silvio Vidal - Creating Websites using IWEB

High Schools

Maywood Academy
Walter Hamilton - Computer Network Administration and Design (ITC Academy)

South Gate High School
Mailelei Rex - Step 5 on a Whole New Level

A special thanks to Mr. Galindo, our Local District 6 Superintendent, who came to visit students and teachers in the showcase booths. An equally special thanks to all the teachers, administrators, coordinators, coaches, ITAFs, and students for making InfoTech 2008 such an amazing success!

I've posted the photos from Infotech online, but the photos are private. If you would like access to the photos, please leave a comment or contact me, so I can share them with you.

Professional Development
  • Apple is offering a very special workshop entitled Supporting English Language Learners with Digital Tools on Wednesday, April 23rd from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Pacific Blvd. Elementary in Huntington Park. Registration, a flyer, and details about the workshop can be found on the LAUSD Apple Website.
  • CaMSP Summer Science Institute will again take place this summer at Thacher in Ojai during the week of July 20 - 25. More information and registration details can be found on this flyer.

Technology Gems
  • Make an interactive whiteboard with a Nintendo Wii Controller! For less than $50, you and your students can have an interactive whiteboard. Watch Johnny Lee, the inventor of the software that controls this setup, at Ted Talks. For more information on how to make this type of device, visit this site.
  • Diigo - a powerful social bookmarking tool. Many of you know that I've been an active user of (social bookarking site) for several years. I've resisted adding a new tool, but the irresistible value of the networking and annotating capabilities on Diigo make it worth considering. Read this excellent blog post by Miguel Guhlin called Diigo Made Simple. Make sure to watch the referenced video on this post by Emily Barney. See if Diigo is right for you. I like it! (I also see it as a potentially powerful learning tool for educators and students.) This is my profile on Diigo, if you want to join, try it out, and be my friend on Diigo. :)
  • Docstoc - Embed most types of files on a web page or blog. This cool application allows you to display a linked file right on your blog or web page. The file can be interactive (allow comments). There are many different features that are available with this tool.
You will notice that Grants and Funding is missing from this edition. I will publish a separate post sometime next week with all the grants and funding opportunities I can find.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (ITAF),
LAUSD Local District 6, Office of Instruction
Phone: (323)278-4903
E-mail: janice.stearns (at)

Paul Burns
ITAF, Instructional Technology Branch, in support of Local District 6
Phone: (213)219-0836
E-mail: paulburns (at)

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please notify me.

Monday, April 07, 2008

InfoTech is Coming!

LAUSD's FREE student-centered technology conference will take place this Saturday, April 12th, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Come and see many examples of technology-enhanced student work showcased by students themselves as well as opportunities to participate in workshops, connect with vendors and other organizations, and observe finalists of the student competition describe their projects.

To register, please visit

Many Local District 6 educators and students will be participating in the Student Showcase at Infotech. A
HUGE thanks to all of you for your dedication and giving up your Saturday to participate and share with others in LAUSD. You are all fantastic!


Montara Elementary
Michelle Ngai - Giving Students a Voice with VoiceThread!

San Miguel Elementary
Mariana Espinoza - Podcasting: Myths and Legends of California Native Americans
Carlos Gomez - The Puma Power Podcast Crew-Enhanced podcast based on themes from 4th grade OCR curriculum
Roberto Mancilla - Native American Reports

Middle School

Gage Middle School

Francine Avila - Mentos: The Freshmaker
Beth Billett - Mathnology
David Billett - Digital Video Production: Public Service Announcements
Lorena Hernandez - The Best of Things

South East Middle School
Cynthia Walker - Endangered Species Research Report
Tim Schlosser - Independent Study: Using Technology to Explore our Passions

South Gate Middle School
Ann Gonzales - Geometric PowerPoint Presentation
Jose Gutierrez - The Crusades (IMOVIE)
Michelle Touceda - Create a Powerpoint presentation responding to The Giver
Xiomara Benitez - Explorations in Science
Mike Albert - Podcasting in History
Tamara Moore - Integrating Literacy and Technology throughout the Content Areas
Diane Chhuo - DataMyte and My Sweet Quince
Marivenus Magbitang - Explorations in Science
Tom Castle - Understanding States of Matter through Animation
Jenny Dodge - Iron Filings Newspaper
Edwin Moralia - I want to go to college
Silvio Vidal - Creating Websites using IWEB

High Schools

Maywood Academy
Walter Hamilton - Computer Network Administration and Design (ITC Academy)

South Gate High School
Mailelei Rex - Step 5 on a Whole New Level

Many other educators and students in Local District 6 are participating in the Student Competition. Those names have not yet been shared. As soon as I have those, I will share them with you.

Also, stop by the workshop I am presenting at 10:00 on Web 2.0.

I hope you can join us on Saturday for a day of learning and fun!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LD6 Educational Technology News for March 2008

Welcome to the March 2008 edition of the Local District 6 Educational Technology Newsletter.

First, I would like to thank all those of you who were responsible for completing the California Technology Survey in a timely manner. We had 100% completion again this year. Thank you!

Table of Contents
  1. District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
  2. Conferences
  3. Professional Development
  4. Great Classroom Happenings!
  5. Technology Gems
District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
This month, our monthly meeting was canceled due to Spring Break. A growing number of schools in Local District 6 are now on traditional calendars, so meeting during this time would have decreased attendance.

Upcoming meetings:

April 17th, 2008 4:00p.m. - 5:15p.m.
District 6 Office, 5800 S. Eastern, Commerce - 3rd Floor Conference Room
Presenter is Vic Pacheco from South East High School, sharing his learning about using online finance tools to provide authentic learning opportunities for students.
May 15, 2008 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
South East High School, 2720 Tweedy Blvd., South Gate
Presenter is David Billett, Technology Coordinator from Gage Middle School, sharing his knowledge and expertise about laptop cart management.

  1. InfoTech 2008 - April 12, 2008 - Los Angeles Convention Center 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Many thanks to all the teachers who will be bringing their students to participate in LAUSD's student centered conference.

    If your students aren't participating this year, this is a great opportunity to attend and learn how other teachers and their students are using technology as a tool in the classroom, attend some workshops and talk with a few sponsors. Read more about InfoTech and register at

  2. TechEd Conference - April 13 - 16, 2008 - Ontario Convention Center - FREE to LAUSD Employees!
    Over 250 concurrent sessions. This conference is a K-20 event with over 250 concurrent sessions, keynotes, and exhibitors. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to attend the conference for free. A $285 value.

  3. NECC Conference - June 29th - July 3rd - Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX
    Connect with educators from around the world at the National Education Computing Conference. The experience at this national conference is amazing! An important event happening before the conference that will make the conference attendance all the more valuable is:
    EdubloggerCon 2008
    - June 28th - Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX
    This is the 2nd annual meetup of an international group of educators who share a passion about educational technology. Come to enjoy the conversation and the learning that all who attend contribute. Attendance at this event is free.
Professional Development

FREE Google Docs tutorial on Atomic Learning until May 1st!
Have you wanted to learn about to use the great features of Google Docs, the online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software (that comes as part of LAUSD Student Mail? Atomic learning is offering its entire suite of tutorials on Google Docs free until May 1st. Give it a try and share with colleagues. These mainly cover the sharing/publication/organization features of the Google applications inside Docs, as well as several tutorials on the word processor. This is a great opportunity.

UPDATE - Free Registration at
  1. UPDATE Online will be offering: (click on the links to download fliers to share with colleagues)
    1. Approaches and Tools For Developing Web-Enhanced Lessons #55-21-547 beginning March 27
    2. Transforming the Classroom with Project-Based Learning #55-21-549 beginning April 2
    3. Dynamic Documentary Video Projects #55-21-658 beginning May 3
    4. Online Learning Experience (Intro to Moodle) #55-21-611 also beginning May 3
    5. Online Facilitator's Course (for those who wish to teach online workshops) #55-21-654 beginning May 10

      UPDATE online courses meet face to face at the beginning and at the end. All other course work is done online. This is a fantastic way to learn - anytime, anywhere.

  2. UPDATE is also offering many face to face courses in the next few months, including video conferencing, webquests, computer basics, PowerPoint, and interactive whiteboards. What a great way to learn and earn free salary points in the process.
Periodic Assessment Salary Point Classes
Local District 6 is offering 2 upcoming salary point courses, Building Quality Learning through Periodic Assessments. All classes will be held at the Local District 6 office, 3rd Floor Conference Room, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Elementary: April 5th and April 19th
  • Secondary: April 26th and May 3rd
Our first offering of this class with instructors Alex Gomez and Kristi Hayes was fantastic! We hope others can take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

Free registration for these courses is through the Learning Zone. Select Periodic Assessments from the Program drop down menu
while in the Course Offerings section.
If you live closer to other districts and would prefer to take the course closer to home, please check this flyer for other district offerings.

LACOE - Instructional Technology Outreach

The Los Angeles County Office of Education offers many outstanding workshops. You can see their offerings at: Click on Workshops.

For example, for elementary educators there is an outstanding workshop called: Using Technology to Enhance the Open Court Curriculum and Close the Digital Divide, on Saturday, March 29th, from 8:30 to 3:30. This course is presented by Mathew Needleman, an LAUSD school literacy coach and of I was able to see Mathew's presentation at CUE a few weeks ago, and it was outstanding. Share this flier with your colleagues.

LACOE offers 5 day academies to help beginning and intermediate technology using educators learn how to use tools in the classroom. Teachers also receive compensation fees for taking these courses, which have to be taken during off-track time.
Level 1 Technology Proficiency Academy
LAUSD 6-23-08 (06/23/2008 - 06/27/2008)
LAUSD 8-4-08 (08/04/2008 - 08/08/2008)
Level 2 Technology Integration Academy
LAUSD 5-19-08 (05/19/2008 - 05/23/2008)
LAUSD 6-23-08 (06/23/2008 - 06/27/2008)
LAUSD 7-7-08 (07/07/2008 - 07/11/2008)
You can register for these workshops at: Click on Workshops.

Podcasting Conservatory,
Thursday, October 2, 4-8 PM; Friday & Saturday, October 3 & 4, 2008, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach. Cost: $75.00
An intensive 2-1/2 day workshop for science educators who are interested in learning about podcasting as a new, accessible method to engage students in support of the California Content Standards. Register at

Summer at Thacher in Ojai: LACOE is offering several opportunities:
The Digital Classroom and the Technology Leadership Academy will take place at Thacher in Ojai from July 27th - August 1. Fee is $1500, but there are contact numbers on the registration that will help you find ways to fund this learning opportunity.

CTAP Technology Academies Trainer of Trainers Institute (ToTI) - 11 positions open for this summer institute at Thacher. July 27th - August 1
Preference will be given to applicants who have completed Level 1 and Level 2 Academies or equivalent and have experience leading professional development workshops. A total of $1000 will be paid to participants upon completion of Institute and follow-up work. Please download this flier for more information.

Great Classroom Happenings!

Web Sites and Voice Thread
Michelle Ngai at Montara Elementary has created a wonderful teacher website which helps facilitate communication and collaboration with the parents of her students. You can find her web site at Click on the VoiceThread link to find some fantastic ways that her second grade students are using VoiceThread in authentic ways across the curriculum. Fantastic work, Ms. Ngai and students!
Here's an example voicethread her students created about animal camouflage:

If you want some more ideas on how to use VoiceThread in the classroom, visit VoiceThread in Teaching and Learning, where you will find not only ideas and examples, but also some reasons why you might want to use VoiceThread as a tool in the classroom.

Video Conferences

Several teachers in Local District 6 are connecting with experts to speak with their classrooms.

  • Students in Mr. Albert's classes South Gate Middle School have been communicating with some very impressive guests.
    • Docents from the Smithsonian Institute, Museum of American Art visited through video conference to share how history has impacted art. The docents shared many interesting artifacts from early in our American history. What a fascinating way to study history!
    • The California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mr. Jack O'Connell, visited through the PORTS program several weeks ago. Students asked some very thoughtful questions about education to which the Superintendent responded. I hope to get permission to publish this discussion so that you can hear how articulate and thoughtful these middle schools students are.
  • Assembly Member de la Torre will be visiting with several classes on Monday, March 24th through the PORTS video conference program. Silvio Vidal's class from South Gate Middle School and Roderick Silva's class from South Gate High School will be talking with the assembly member. I hope to record some of these interviews.
  • Many teachers at South Gate Middle School, including Edie Walker, provide wonderful learning opportunities for their students by connecting with park rangers at various state parks like Anza Borrego and Año Nuevo through the PORTS program, using standards-based lessons to prepare for their virtual trip.
If you are interested in learning how to participate in these types of programs, please take one of the video conference courses offered through UPDATE. Paul Burns and I can help with equipment.
  • Several students at the International School in South Gate were preparing to travel to New York in an exchange program. Before they visited, they wanted to meet with the students who would be their hosts. We connected through Skype, and the students in South Gate and in New York were able to meet each other virtually before they met face to face. It was a very positive experience.Thanks to the principal, Ms. Guillermina Jauregui and the teacher librarian, Ms. Jazmin Abad, for creating this opportunity for the students.
  • 5th grade students from Ms. Jennifer Conroy's class at Independence and Ms. Tiffany Abad's class at Bryson connected through video conference for a literature circle about the book, Esperanza Rising. They will meet again to discuss the book, The Outsiders. We hope to record the conversation for a podcast.
If you are interested in developing these kinds of exchanges, please contact me. We can arrange a hands-on workshop so you can connect and facilitate this type of conversation and collaboration that extends beyond the walls of your classroom.

Please share the great ways you are using technology in the classroom by either adding a comment to this newsletter/blog or contacting me. I would love to share the great work you are all doing with others.

Technology Gems

From TechChick Tips -Episode 41 - A great podcast I've mentioned before, that has a wealth of wonderful resources:
  • "What Could It Mean?" Voicethread -
    A collaborative space to share pictures and comments about items of cultural value. A great way to have students experience cultural awareness in an authentic setting. One can contribute images depicting a unique tradition, typical custom, distinctive perspectives, routines, habits and practices and/or listen and add comments to pictures contributed by others.
    An interactive website where students (aged 4-7) can explore cultures and global awareness. Created by educators who worked on Sesame Street, this site has several focus areas: awareness of the wider world, appreciating similarities and valuing differences, taking responsibility for one’s behaviors, community participation and willingness to take action, and understanding of and responsiveness to economic disparity. The site has audio and text in several languages, including Spanish.
  • Check out the Tech Chick Tips website and podcast at for more fantastic tools with ideas about how to use them in the classroom. This podcast and website are a great resource.
Google Sky now available through a browser!
Google Sky used to only available from the Google Earth program, that needs to be installed on the computer. The great folks at Google have now made this amazing resource available from a web browser at All the rich resources can now be accessed without having to launch Google Earth. Read more about all the great features at the Google Earth/Maps blog.

Here are some tools to spark creativity in the classroom:

LetterPop - Online Desktop Publishing - From the website, it reads, "Use LetterPop to create eye-popping newsletters, actionable presentations, irresistible invitations, beautiful product features, sizzling event summaries, informative club updates, lovely pictures, and a whole lot more." This could be a great way to publish a classroom newsletter or other classroom event, with the ability to print, email, or share with contacts.

Image Generators - Often, a message can be conveyed better with good presentation. Sylvia Tolisano, at her blog, Langwitches, recently wrote a post about image generators for all occasions. With a few easy steps, one can generate images of scoreboards, cereal boxes, iphones, magazine or book covers, etc. Visit her post to find a wealth of resources for generating these types of images for free.

Poster Generator - Glogster - A fun, free way to create posters. The site is open, so exercise caution and supervision when allowing students to use this site.

Image Tools for Mac -
Plasq, fine inventors of Comic Creator, released Skitch as a free (for now) download.
Skitch, which I shared with you a few months ago, is a product that allows you to capture, draw, and share images. I use this product all the time. It's great for quick edits of photo grabs, and has the ability to add text. Right now, in beta, it's a free download. Try it. You'll like it.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (ITAF),
LAUSD Local District 6, Office of Instruction
Phone: (323)278-4903
E-mail: janice.stearns (at)

Paul Burns
ITAF, Instructional Technology Branch, in support of Local District 6
Phone: (213)219-0836
E-mail: paulburns (at)

If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, please notify me.