Thursday, September 3, 2020

Just in Time!

 A shout out to Lisa Parisi who challenged several of us former bloggers to start blogging again. So, I revved up my Chromebook and will join in. As I looked back, it has been a little over a year since I last blogged when I was at ISTE in Philly.  Lisa asked that we start with an About Me post, here goes. 

I began with a degree in education in 1974 with a BS in Early Childhood, followed by MEd in Special Education both degrees from University of Maine, Orono . The University of our Hearts Always still holds true as two out of three sons also graduated from UMO. The other son graduated from University of Maine Farmington . We have all stayed in Maine and work and play in this great state. 

I was fortunate to be able to work in this State for 37+ years beginning as a kindergarten teacher,  elementary then high school resource room teacher, computer lab teacher, technology coordinator and finally back in the resource room high school classroom for 6 years before I retired in December of 2018 in order to ski the winters away!

As important as my times in the classroom were my times outside the classroom connecting with like-minded educators around the world beginning with the Webheads in Action, way back in 2003. In 2006 I was intrigued by conversations about Webheads and I took the plunge! I took part in online classes and meetups before they were fashionable. I was on the fast track and became an online instructor for Webheads in Action, I became a podcaster after free classes with WorldBridges. From that grew Women of Web 2.0 with Vicki Davis, Sharon Peters, Jennifer Wagner, and myself. Check out our 84th podcast from 2008. From there I moved virtually back to Maine with my dear friends Alice Barr and Bob Sprankle as we grew our podcast Seedlings, which are remarkably still timely to listen to these days. Also in 2008, I was accepted into the Google Certified Teachers-now Certified Innovators in the NYC class of 2008.  I met so many wonderful educators and went on to champion google tools for challenged learners. So much so that YouTube search googlers located me and created a 3-minute video of one of  my former students Morgan. Over 3.6 million views have been going on with this awesome video. Thanks to Google and great google tools many students are able to be independent with their learning. 

Now, in 2020, I am a co-conference chair for ACTEM Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine, working on my 3rd conference with Steph Cheney and our first virtual conference. I work for ACTEM preparing the conference and paying it forward to educators. I spend most of my time in the warm seasons in the garden, a local CSA and kayaking. In the cooler seasons and winter, I ski as often as possible!

When people ask me if I am glad to be retired in this Pandemic, I say that I am, but that doesn't mean I am not concerned,  or worried. One bright part of this pandemic has brought attention to Universal Design for Learning for all learners. When everyone school had to move to virtual teaching and learning UDL rose to the top as a way to meet the challenges of virtual teaching and learning. So,each day I am hopeful. Hopeful that our world can make changes that will allow a kinder path for all our students, all our communities, and our world. Peace out!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

We are not alone ISTE19 part 4

This is a quick way to demonstrate that we are not alone in our searches. Google Hot Trends is a real-time look at the hottest searches at the moment.
Look at the trends: Trending`

Then look at Google Trends and compare terms since 2004. You can compare by the world, country, specific dates. Here is an image of my trend. Teaching our students to look at and compare data can be informative as well as fun.
Check back to see the next installment.

Friday, July 5, 2019

ISTE19 part 3

How many of us have co-workers who think we know as much as Google? This is a tongue in cheek way of letting others know that with a click of a google search, they too can be in charge of knowledge.
Let Me Get That For You
So a co-worker asks you when the first day of fall is and here is your answer!

Don't use this too many times or you might be out of a job!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

ISTE 19 part 2

I'm going to jump back on the blog wagon and share some quick tips from my sessions at ISTE.  I've been retired for 18 months and I wanted to see what new adventures were looming in technology, especially for my passion of making learning accessible for challenged learners.
This is my second tip. This tip focuses on the challenged learner and making choices. You can begin in a google doc, go to add ons and select Story Starters. Story Starters can be used with the Google Home, now just wait for it- I know there are privacy and security issues that educators are still grappling with, so while that continues to be resolved, there is another way to access this. You select, how to play your story and select Chat. Choose a premade template-how easy is that? Then play and the student just speaks their choices. The choices are simple like left or right, yes or no, or go inside or don't go inside. I can think of many students who would benefit from having a story they speak that turns into audio and written format. This is from Google Experiments-click here and see more experiments. If you like this check back to see what I'll share next. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Musings from ISTE19

Photo of an ISTE 2019 banner on a lamppost
ISTE 2019 Philadelphia
I'm going to jump back on the blog wagon and share some quick tips from my sessions at ISTE.  I've been retired for 18 months and I wanted to see what new adventures were looming in technology, especial for my passion of making learning accessible for challenged learners. So, stick with me for a few days while I look through my notes and share what I learned. If you really want to spend some time on a crowdsourced version of what happened at ISTE19, check Stephanie Howell's version
The first session I attended was all about  Wakelet which is an online site where you can find, organize and share your resources. This FREE online service is fairly new and was demonstrated by several educators who were excited about an easy way to share information like a backchannel during their session, a way to curate and share resources with their teachers, a newsletter for parents and I am sure you can come up with more ways to use. logo-blue
Check back to see what I'll be sharing next.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Back to School Message from a "Retired Teacher"

I've been thinking of this post since I received a "Happy Retirement" card from my Google Girl, Morgan! It doesn't seem possible that this video was shot by the Google Search team in 2012. This video is still very timely, because it is timeless. This video shows the motivation and independence that Morgan shared with the world. I was the  teacher/coach standing nearby and in the background.

Morgan's card to me is something that all students would share with their teachers in their thoughts. Morgan went with the extra mile and put her thoughts into words with specific examples about how she uses some of the Google tools that she learned about in high school. This made me smile. The Google tools she learned about did in fact level the playing field for her. Not only did the tools help her throughout her high school classes, but the tools are doing the same for her at work and in her college classes.

My message to all of you starting out in the teaching profession or returning to yet another year of school. You have an important job to do. Not only are you making a difference in these 180 school days, but also, you are making a lasting impression on those students. It may take one school year to hear the thanks from your students or it may take years for you to hear thanks for the impression or the connection you made with your students. Regardless, keep making those connections and know that you are making a difference in many lives.  Thank you Morgan for also making a difference in my life. Happy Back to School!

Monday, August 20, 2018

York Summer Institute 2018

I'll be presenting in York, ME at the Summer Institute. It's an awesome venue with amazing teachers from 3 different districts. You can catch many great presenters and a wide variety of classroom topics, technology offerings, and exceptional professional development. Summer PD on the Coast of Maine, not a bad way to spend the day!

I'll be presenting about Using Google Tools as Assistive Technology for All Learners and Using Read & Write by TextHelp in your classroom.

See you there!