Monday, February 18, 2008

February 2008 - LD6 EdTech News

Can you believe it's already February? ...

Table of Contents
  1. Upcoming Local District 6 Educational Technology Cadre Meetings
  2. LAUSD News and Events
  3. Professional Development Opportunities
  4. Grants and Funding
  5. Technology Gems

Local District 6 Educational Technology Leadership Cadre Meetings

All meetings are scheduled from 4:00 - 5:15. Attendance is voluntary. All are welcome. I appreciate the dedication of all members of our community who attend and support using tools to engage our students in purposeful, authentic learning.

Our upcoming meeting will be on Thursday. February 21st, at 4:00 p.m in the Local District 6 3rd Floor Conference Room. The address is 5800 S. Eastern, Commerce, CA. Our guest presenter will be Dr. James Alther, Chief Technology Director, Infrastructure Group, who will share information about current IT Infrastructure Projects and other related information about the IT infrastructure in LAUSD. This will be an opportunity to find out information about the technical side of our district that supports our work in educational technology. If you are unable to attend in person, but would like to attend virtually, leave a comment on the blog or contact me through email so that I may send you a link to the virtual Eluminate session. You will be able to listen to the presentation and pose questions through the chat function.

4:00 - Introductions - Discussion of News and Events
4:15 - James Alther - IT Infrastructure at LAUSD
4:45 - Questions and discussions with Dr. Alther
5:00 - Group collaboration/articulation on vision for 21st Century Education

Upcoming Meetings:
March 20th - Local District 6 Office - Guest Presenter, Mr. David Billet - Laptop Cart Management - and more
April 17th - Local District 6 Office - Guest Presenter, Mr. Vic Pacheco - Finance Tools (ie Yahoo Finance, Google Finance) for Authentic Learning
May 15th - South East High School - Topic TBD

Our January 17th meeting was outstanding. Youssef Elias showed us how to use Google Sketchup. Mr. Galindo, our Local District 6 Superintendent, joined our meeting. He is very supportive of engaging students in authentic learning, using educational technology as a tool. We are fortunate to have his support and his passion to engage in the conversation and the resulting plans for how we will use technology in the classroom to help our students learn. Our conversation about 21st century learning continues on our group page. Please join the group to add to the discussion. (The button to join the group is on the right side bar. Enter your email address to request membership.)

LAUSD News and Events
  1. California Technology Survey - District 6 deadline - February 29, 2008
    The communication on the details of completing the California Technology Survey was sent to principals on February 5th. This survey must be completed by one person at the school, designated by the principal. 100% completion is required by all schools in the district. The completion of this survey is necessary to qualify for state and federal grants and funding.
    The website to complete this survey is:
    Survey Type: School
    County: Los Angeles
    District: Los Angeles Unified
    PIN: [Contact ITAF for PIN]
    Password: [Contact ITAF for password]

    Each section of the survey may be saved separately, and it is not necessary to complete the entire survey in one visit to the web site. Also, you may return to any previously completed section to make changes. The survey is “completed” when all sections have been saved.
    If you have any questions regarding completing this survey, please contact me.

  2. InfoTech 2008 - April 12, 2008 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Los Angeles Convention Center
    This year, LAUSD's annual educational technology conference, InfoTech, will take place on Saturday, April 12th. This year's theme is Excellence through Innovation.
    Student Showcase
    There will be a Student Showcase, where students and their teacher will showcase their projects at booths throughout the conference. The deadline for submitting intents to participate is February 28th. For more information and registration forms, please visit
    Student Competition
    The student competion this year is divided into three groups: elementary, middle school, and high school. Each will submit a short video clip with the following themes:
    Demonstrate the theme, "Excellence Through Innovation" through the use of Internet resources in the classroom.
    Middle School: Predict how a middle school classroom will look and how technology will bring about "Innovation Through Excellence" for teaching and learning in the year 2015.
    High School: Show how innovative use of social networking promotes excellence in school-home communication.
    There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each group. For more details, please visit:
    There will be workshops for teachers, administrators, and parents. For more details, please visit:

    Please register and plan to attend and/or participate with students or in the workshops. This is a fantastic opportunity for learning.

Professional Development

  1. Periodic Assessment Salary Point Class - Elementary - April 5th and April 19th 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Building Quality Assessments through Periodic Assessment for elementary teachers will be offered at the Local District 6 office on April 5th and 19th. Please download and share this flyer with your colleagues. It has details on how to register for the class.
    If you live closer to other local districts, and would like to take the class closer to home, all local districts will be offering this class. Please download this flyer for when and where this class will be offered in all local districts.
  2. UPDATE Courses through Learning Zone
    There are many face to face salary point courses offered over the next few months, including classes on Interactive WhiteBoards, VideoConferences, and Multimedia Projects (Devery Rodgers will be teaching this class beginning Feb. 16th at SouthEast HS). Some online courses in the next few months address English Language Learners, Math, and Data Analysis. Some courses are free while others are for fee.
  3. LACOE - ITO (Instructional Technology Outreach) Courses
    ITO offers many workshops, including the week-long Technology Academy, courses on tools like Photoshop, Pixie and more; and the excellent Using Technology to Enhance the Open Court Curriculum and Close the Digital Divide. All of their courses are either free of cost a nominal fee. You can search for them on LACOE's ITO website at

Grants and Funding
  1. Motorola's Innovation Grant - Deadline - March 1st, 2008
    Grant applicants may request up to $100,000
    Funding priority will be placed on pioneering programs that:
    — Engage students and teachers in innovative, hands-on ways
    — Teach innovation and creative problem-solving skills
    — Focus on girls and underrepresented minorities
    — Engage Motorola employees as volunteers

  2. BP's A+ Energy Grant for K-12 Teachers - Deadline: March 7, 2008
    Grant funding in amounts of $5000 to $10,000
    will be awarded for innovative classroom, after-school, extra-curricular or summer lessons and projects that center around energy in standards based curriculum.

  3. For more grants and funding resources, visit LACOE's ITO Grants and Funding resource page at

Technology Gems
  1. Design Contest for Students - Doodle4Google
    Imagine designing a winning Google Doodle that would appear on the Google Search Page. Google is holding a contest right now for students in Grades K-12 to design such a doodle. Registration is open until March 28th. Find out more details at the Doodle4Google site.

  2. Great Podcasts
    1. Bit by Bit Podcasts 62 and 61, by Bob Sprankle: Dr. Tim Tyson at the Christa McAuliffe Conference.
      I think the work that Bob Sprankle does with his students in Maine and through his several podcasts and blogs (Bit by Bit, Seedlings, TechLearning) is outstanding and I highly recommend you subscribe to all his feeds. In addition to recording his own podcasts, Bob also does something very special by recording the presentations at conferences he attends. At the Christa McAuliffe Conference in November, he had the opportunity to record two presentations/workshops given by Dr. Tim Tyson, former principal of Mabry Middle School. These podcasts are truly inspirational and have the wonderful ability to spark your thinking about teaching and learning in the 21st century.
      Recently, I shared these two podcasts with our local district superintendent, Mr. Galindo, by placing them on his ipod. Why don't you ask your principal if they would like some quality listening material on their iPod. You can use these two podcasts plus some of the others I will mention.
    2. Learning in Hand by Tony Vincent
      This outstanding podcast invites you to learn how to use iPods as classroom learning tools. I've learned some tricks I didn't know before. The episodes on this podcast are enhanced podcasts, meaning that there are pictures that guide you through the audio lessons.
    3. Moving at the Speed of Creativity Podcast by Wesley Fryer
      Wesley Fryer publishes quality content every week on his podcast. When you listen to this podcast, it's as if you are attending a quality presentation at a conference. Throughout the past two years, I have learned so much from the amazing work of this tireless educator, while driving to work, listening to my ipod. His content is thoughtful, well developed, and inspirational. His focus on sound pedagogy and authentic learning helps reinforce the notion that it's not about the technology, but about the learning that takes place when students are engaged.
    4. Conference Connections - by Apple Distinguished Educators
      Tim Wilson, with a team of volunteer Apple Distinguished Educators, travels around to various conferences and records quality presentations that are published as podcast episodes. There are a rich variety of topics and speakers that are of high quality and depth. I recently listened to podcast episodes about using PowerPoint, Google Earth, and Data Driven Instruction. I highly recommend this quality podcast.
  3. Time Article - How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century
    Not new - but a great article written in December 2006 about what students need to know to succeed in the 21st century. A great read. What do you think?
  4. ScreenFlow - For Mac OS X Leopard Users:
    A screen capture/screencast application that looks stunning, called Screen Flow. The free version has a watermark, but allows you to experiment to see if it's worth the purchase price of under $100.
  5. Google Spreadsheets now include forms!
    When I used to need to create online surveys, I used online services like SurveyMonkey. Now, for simple surveys, Google Spreadsheets (included in LAUSD's student email) has a new feature called forms. You can make a form from an existing spreadsheet, or create one from scratch using a blank spreadsheet. Fill in the information for which you want data, publish it online or email it to others with a click of a button. When the form is completed by others, the results show up in the spreadsheet, without having to share the spreadsheet with others. The resulting data can be published as a graph. Fabulous and powerful! Read more about this new feature on the Google Docs blog.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
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)

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