Monday, January 10, 2011

EdTech News for January 2011

Happy New Year, everyone!
I hope this year is filled with happy moments and rewarding experiences for you and your students!

Please try to come to our EdTech Leadership meeting on Thursday, January 20th, at Montara Ave Elementary. More details below.

This compelling presentation uses the audio from Sir Ken Robinson's talk, Changing Educational Paradigms, with wonderful animation by the RSA Animate Team.  In this talk, Sir Ken Robinson talks about the future of education, what needs to change, and why.

EdTech Leadership Meetings
We haven't had an EdTech Leadership meeting for such a long time! Our next meeting will be on Thursday, January 20th, at Montara Ave. Elementary School. Michelle Ngai has graciously allowed us to meet in Montara's computer lab. Hope to see you all there! Michelle has offered to show us how to use either Prezi or Glogster. It's going to be great! Please be prepared to share some tool or best practice. It's the best professional development ever, since we learn from all who attend. It's great fun and the best way to learn - together! I hope to see you there! Please invite your colleagues. We always welcome new friends and colleagues.
Thursday, January 20th, 4:00 - 5:15
Montara Ave. Elementary School

District News and Events
This news comes primarily from LAUSD's Educational Technology Blog
LAUSD's Online Learning
Online learning is a great resource that many secondary schools throughout LAUSD are beginning to use. There are many models for implementing online learning at your school. Credit recovery and advanced placement courses are among the many needs that online learning can address. You can browse the types of online courses available here. Several professional developments for the facilitators/teachers of the Apex online credit recovery classes are scheduled during the month of January.  (Please visit the Learning Zone and search courses for "Educational Technology.") If your school is interested in or have questions about LAUSD's online learning, please contact me.

LAUSD Speak Up!!!! Due date: January 21, 2011

What is Speak Up? From their website:

The Speak Up National Research Project provides participating organizations with a quick and easy way to collect authentic feedback from your students, teachers and parents on important education issues - and to ensure that the voices of your stakeholders are heard loud and clear in Washington DC and your state capitol.
This data will be available for use in early February.
To take the survey, go to…
Click on one of the four buttons that are set up for US participation:
  • Students (all grades K-12)
  • Educators (includes surveys for teachers, administrators, librarians and tech coordinators)
  • Parents (in English) or Parents (in Spanish).
Pull down state menu and select California.
Enter school name (just really need first few letters).
A list will come up with school names – it most cases it will be just one option - click on your school name.    
Enter secret word: lausd
Click to take the grade appropriate survey for you:  K-2, Gr 3-5, Gr 6-8, Gr 9-12

Microsoft bliink: a web design contest…

…will be open for student registration beginning January 5, 2011.
Students will:
  • Dream big about how technology can make the world a better place
  • Learn more about the power of technology to solve real-world problems
  • Receive Microsoft Expression®  Studio professional software at no charge
  • Develop career skills in design, technology, and communication
  • Create a website to communicate their learning and creativity
  • Be excited about the opportunity for local and national recognition 
  • Work hard to earn prizes that include Xbox 360 and Kinect
  • Feel pride and accomplishment in their success and learning
Blink is open to U.S. students ages 13-19 participating in teams of two to four.
Students can submit projects created in or out of class.
Contest Registration begins January 5, 2011. Submission deadline dates in early March vary by state.
Visit   Expression For Educators for free Expression Studio learning resources.
Inquire about receiving Expression Studio software free of charge for your school:
Students can download Expression Studio free of charge for their personal PCs at DreamSpark.
Complete details will be posted in mid-December, 2010, on the Bliink website.
Email questions at
Free Live Meetings sessions to learn more about the contest and Expression Studio.
Introduction to bliink - The Expression Web environment - Creating sites from a template
More about bliink- Creating a new site with layers
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Creating Dynamic Web Templates (DWT)
Make sure the Office Live Meeting client is installed before the meeting: connecting from outside the Microsoft network
For more details on connecting contact:
Good luck to your students in Microsoft bliink 2011!

Thinkfinity Online Course
The California K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) will be offering several FREE Thinkfinity Train the Trainer sessions in 2011. If you are interested in becoming a Thinkfinity Trainer, please sign up for one of our face-to-face trainings OR register for Thinkfinity’s six week online course. 
Registration for the Thinkfinity Trainer Online Course will close on January 10, 2011. 
Make sure you register early!
If you are not interested in our Trainer Program but would like to learn more about Thinkfinity, we invite you to sign up for a free webinar.
Click here for the Thinkfinity Webinar Schedule or visit

LAUSD's Infotech
Mark your calendars. LAUSD's  annual student-led technology conference will take place on April 30th, 2011. I hope you and your students are planning great projects to share! More information will be coming soon.

Professional Development
User Groups
SMART Board User Group
Are you just starting to use the SMART Board? Would you like to get together with other educators from around the district to share lessons, tips and tricks, and best practices? We are starting a SMART Board user's group. We'll meet monthly (sometimes virtually), The first SMART Board User Group (or SBUG) meeting will be Thursday, February 10th, at Stevenson Middle School, from 3:30 - 5:00. All educators are welcome. Please share with your colleagues. Here's a flyer to download and share. If you have any questions, please contact me.

iPAD Administrator's User Group
Many educators are now beginning to use iPads in classrooms and schools all around LAUSD. If you are an iPad using administrator, you might be using your iPad to do some tasks common to many other administrators. Let's get together and share ideas, apps, and best practices to learn from one another. If you are interested, please fill out this form
I'll put together a social space, organize a place to meet, and bring some food for our first meeting!
I'm beginning to put together some online resources on iPads at

Los Angeles County Office of Education's Instructional Technology Outreach program offers a wealth of workshops at a reasonable price. Check out the listings on their website.

EdCamp OC - January 15th, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p,m. - Costa Mesa, CA
This is the first Southern California EdCamp. Educators from all around get together to talk and share with one another in an informal, unconference environment. Since there are no "formal" sessions, you can suggest a topic you are passionate about, share what your students are doing, and learn from everyone else who is attending. I think this will be a great learning opportunity. I hope to see you there. For more information and to register, please visit

CUE - March 17th - 19th - Palm Springs, CA
California's annual Computer Using Educators conference is coming soon! Join thousands of other educators to learn and network at one of the finest educational technology conferences in all the nation. This is a great experience for all who are passionate about using technology as a learning tool in the classroom. For more information and to register, please visit

ISTE - June 26th - 29th - Philadelphia, PA
The International Society for Technology in Education will host their annual conference this year in Philadelphia. I know budgets are tight, but if you can, this is an amazing conference to attend. You will mix and mingle with almost 20,000 other educators from around the world, all passionate about the love of learning and the role that technology plays in that love and that learning. For more information and to register, please visit

Grants and Funding
Mike Leffin, a consultant for the Instructional Technology Outreach program at the Los Angeles County Office of Education, gathers grants and funding resources each month to share with educators. Visit and click on LAUSD  with guest access to find the grant information.

Tech Gems

By far, one of the most amazing tools to come out lately is Google Body. You need to be running the latest version of ChromeBeta. This app lets you explore all layers of the human body, from the skeletal system to the cardiovascular system, all in 3D that can be manipulated to turn in many different directions. When you click on a particular part of the body, it becomes darker and is labeled. This is magnificent, and only hints at what will be possible in the near future!

Richard Bryne, on his Free Technology for Teachers site, shared this amazing resource on multi-modal guides to current global issues, Interactive Guides to Global Issuses, that offer not only video, but different media such as timelines, text, audio, and graphics. These are issues that are happening now, and not available in textbooks.

Creating a School Website
There are many schools that would like to create a school website, but don't have the staff or time required to create a truly interactive, up-to-date website. I wrote a post that suggests how to use a few different tools to create a website. Please note that these are suggestions only. There are many different ways to publish a school website.

You can find most of what I'm learning through my social bookmarks on Delicious and Diigo . Note that Delicious, owned by Yahoo, might be closing down soon. If you have bookmarks there, you will want to back them up by importing them to Diigo or another service. This article, by Wesley Fryer, offers some suggestions for alternatives to Delicious: Delicious Social Bookmarks Going Away - What Shall We Do?

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (ITAF)
Educational Technology Branch, ITD, LAUSD
E-mail: janice.stearns (at)

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