Digital Learning Day

February 6th has been named as Digital Learning Day across the country.  The purpose of this day is to highlight the way that learning is changing through the use of instructional technology. The main event will be a Digital Town Hall Meeting today at 1:00pm-2:30pm from the Newseum.

This brief tutorial walks you through the steps for selecting, customizing, distributing, and assessing a lesson using a YouTube video via the TEDEd website. Students will need to create their own TEDEd account in order for their results to be tracked, but it’s definitely worth the few extra minutes! Enjoy!

Happy Digital Learning Day!

Confidence Through Connectedness

Originally posted on My Island View:

Confidence, as an educator, is something that is not a skill to be taught. It is not a method to be memorized. It is an attitude. It is a state of mind. It is also elusive to many educators. How do we foster confidence? How do we enable educators to be confident in their profession?

To answer the question of confidence, I rely on my understanding of what I know of my own struggles with confidence. I am only confident in areas that I have a proven knowledge of the subject. I think most people are like that. If one has an understanding of any given subject, then it is easy to speak out on it. Teachers are confident in their subject areas because they have been well versed in the specifics of their subject.

Of course there are exceptions. I find many English teachers are lacking confidence in the…

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Sitegeist App

Sitegeist is an iOS and Android application that lets you learn about the area around you in seconds by using well-designed infographics. Sitegeist provides informational and entertainment information about your current location, or a location of your choice, that include the area’s Age Distribution, Political Contributions, Average Rent, Popular Local Spots, Recommended Restaurants, How People Commute, Record Temperatures, and Housing Units Over Time.

The AASL Lesson Plan Database

The American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database is a wonderful tool to support school librarians and other educators. The database allows for sharing lessons plans that align with standards for teaching the essential learning skills defined in the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. All lesson plans published are aligned with AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and are crosswalked with the Common Core Standards.

Register and begin using the Lesson Plan Database.

While on the AASL website, be sure to check a great resource for technology integrators: The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning. (New for 2012)

Here is my quick overview of the The AASL Lesson Plan Database:

Tutorial: Taking and Sharing Pics with the Google Drive App (iOS)

A senior Film and Literature class wanted to create 1-2 minute suspenseful movie trailers after watching Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcck.  After observing the many techniques used by Hitchcock to influence viewer emotion, suspense in particular, students will learn how pre-planning a detailed, purposeful storyboard will create a better end product. The class will have previously discussed the use of symbolism and special effects to elicit viewer emotion. The English teacher and I identified a need for a storyboarding resource that will allow students to collaborate to display filmaking knowledge using a new medium. Having time to collaborate in the library allowed the teachers to enhance the lesson by sharing resources and brainstorming new ideas. Modifications were made to last year’s version of the project based on a pre-production activity from Stanford’s University’s Academic Computing Services department.

The final products for the lesson will be suspenseful movie trailers for either “The Tell Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe or “The Lamb to Slaughter” by Roald Dahl,” a collaborative storyboard of 9, well-planned movie frames using Google Presentation, and a reflective response to the project as measured by the NCHS reflection rubric.

iOS device reflection was created using the Reflection app and screen captured using ScreenFlow 4.

Digital Storyboarding

To prepare for my second observation as a student librarian at New Canaan High School, I am collaborating with Susan Steidl (English teacher with a senior film and literature class) to create a digital storyboarding lesson. Ms. Steidl’s class just finished watching Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Many critics rank Hitchcock as one of the best directors of suspense in cinematic history. Watching the film will show students the many techniques used by Hitchcock to influence the audience’s viewing experience.

After watching Psycho, students will read A Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and The Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl. Then students will brainstorm ideas, storyboard, and shoot a minute-long, suspenseful trailer for one of the short stories. The following video describes my experiences working to find technology that would enhance the digital storyboarding lesson.

Digital Storyboarding Technology from Dan Ambrosio on Vimeo.

Moments of Hope

Once in a while, there are moments in that fill me with hope about the future of education in the United States. As a new (student) teacher, I always love these moments. These moments give me hope that as a new educator I can make a difference to improve methods of learning for students through the use of technology. Watching the Ericsson video “The Future of Learning,” part of the Networked Society series, gave me hope. I hope it does the same for you.

My Favorite Quotes:

“You don’t actually need to know anything you can find out at the point when you need to know it. It’s the teacher’s job to point young minds towards the right kind of question. A teacher doesn’t need to give any answers, because answers are everywhere and we know now from years of measurements that learners who find the answers for themselves retain it better than if they’re told the answer.”

Sugata Mitra’s TED Talks

“One of the revolutions that we’re going to see is where less and less of education is about a conveyer of content, because that is going to be a commodity, and hopefully one that’s going to be available to everyone around the world and a lot more of what we think of as education is going to go back to its original roots of teaching, where the instructor actually engages in a dialogue with the students and helps them develop thinking skills, problem solving skills, passion for the discipline. The kinds of things that are much easier to do in a face-to-face setting and a lot harder to do in an online format, but for which, really the college experience, as we know it; that it the right place where you’d like to put that kind of development of skills.”

Dahphne Kollerm
Coursera Co-Founder

“Revolutions destroy the perfect and then they enable the impossible.
They never go from everything is good to everything is good.
There is a lot of noise in the middle.”
American entrepreneur, author and public speaker

Note Taking Lesson for Cairo / Baghdad Musuem Project

What tabs should we have open when we start research? Answer

Listen to this radio clip from NPR to help you better understand the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing

Key Terms for today’s lesson:

Plagiarize: Definition
Paraphrase: Definition
Common Knowledge: Definition


Pop Quiz!
93% of New Canaan High School students attend a 4-year university after graduation. Common Knowledge or information needing a citation?

Use this Note-Taking Rubric as a guide when creating your notes:

Here are a few helpful screenshots:

This 2-minute video will give you quick overview of how to create, group, and share your notes in EasyBib: 

To practice correct note-taking skills, read the highlighted section of Thieves of Baghdad and complete the Notecard Handout provided. Remember to use the 
Note-Taking Rubric as a guide when making your notes.

Search terms that help you find PERSIA+GT
  • Political – politic* OR gov*
  • Economic – econ* OR trade*
  • Religious – religio* OR god*
  • Social – soci* OR famil*OR marriage OR divorce OR child
  • Aesthetic – art* OR pyramid*OR architect*
  • Geography – geolog* OR topogra*OR arable OR farm OR agricult* OR transport*
  • Technological – tech* OR tool*

Online library catalog:

Did you know… it’s the only place to access our 1,400 eBooks? 
Did you know….it’s a great place to search for database articles
NCHS research starts with Destiny!
You can search for your city by name.
We recommend the following databases (remember, you can search these in Destiny!):
Log to access database page (Do not use your personal user name and password. See pg 45 of your planner if you can’t remember the authentication information).
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (App available!)
  • History in Context (can limit search to images)
  • ABC-CLIO (can limit search to images)
  • NewsStand (current news) 

Start with these resources on your assignment:

Additional search terms: Mesopotamia*, Tigris, Euphrates, Sumer*. Babylon*. Hittit*, Assyria*, Persia*

* = Truncation symbol. Truncation symbols will provide variant spelling after the root word.

Example: god* = god, goddess, gods

We now have EasyBib premium. All you need to do to access it is to log into Google Apps, scroll down, click on EasyBib, and click Google. That’s it! (video tutorial at the bottom of this post)

NEW! EasyBib has a note-taking tool to help keep track of your artifacts (ancient items) and evaluate which best represent the contributions of your early civilization.

Accessing Premium when Your School has a Google Apps Domain from michelle luhtala on Vimeo.

Use this tutorial if your school has a Google Apps domain and a premium EasyBib account, and you haven’t yet signed into your account.

And BTW, there is an EasyBib app.

EasyBib’s video instructions for the app:

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in Google Docs Tutorial

I created this tutorial to teach students and teachers how to use the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology in Google Docs/Drive.  The tutorial shows how to use the OCR technology to convert images with text to an editable text document in Google Docs. Have fun digitizing!