Tag Archives: literacy

Our new and improved Independent Reading Site is up and running at @The_School thanks to @finlaycm.

Cristina Martinez-Finlay is the Network Manager (and ever so much more) at The School at Columbia University. Last year, she decided to embark on a personal journey to revamp our beloved but kinda ugly Independent Reading Site which had been a labor-of-love Google Site that Marisa Guastaferro Mendez and I launched in 2007. We even won an award for it back in the day.

Marisa wanted an internal space for kids to keep track of their independent reading, post book reviews, and social network about literacy. We examined GoodReads, Shelfari, and other sites before deciding to just have an internal Google Site that anyone in our school community could access and edit. The site was alive and kicking and heavily used for 6 years. Then last year, Cristina showed me her pet project. She used Drupal to build the site (because, lordy, that woman knows Drupal), and she built up a site that is internal, robust, and legitimately way more attractive to use. The kids love it.

Today, Eve Becker (8th grade English) and I reminded the kids how to navigate the site, add books, join groups, post reviews, and comment on other people’s reviews. Cristina was there to answer questions too, and I’m glad the kids had a chance to appreciate her to her face.

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Notes from yesterday’s #NYCIST meeting: @explainevrythng @Showbie @readwithSubtext @bodelinproscope

I’ve been a member of the New York Consortium of Independent School Technologists (NYCIST) for years. It is a terrific, timely, and transformational professional learning community (PLC), and I value our monthly face-to-face meetings. Two years ago, I was honored to be named President of NYCIST and arrange the monthly meetings; This year I’m glad to see Erin Mumford (@ErinMum) at the helm. Erin is currently an educational technologist at Friends Seminary, and we worked together over the years as organizers of TEDxNYED and the Robo-Expo.

At yesterday’s inaugural meeting of the 2012-2013 school year, the topic was about iPad integration and the following four resources were shared:

1. Explain Everything (@explainevrythng) – Reshan Richards (@reshanrichards) is the Director of Educational Technology at Montclair Kimberley Academy and the creator of Explain Everything. As the website explains,

Explain Everything is an easy-to-use design tool that lets you annotate, animate, and narrate explanations and presentations. You can create dynamic interactive lessons, activities, assessments, and tutorials using Explain Everything’s flexible and integrated design. Use Explain Everything as an interactive whiteboard using the iPad2 video display. Explain Everything records on-screen drawing, annotation, object movement and captures audio via the iPad microphone.  Import Photos, PDF, PPT, and Keynote from Dropbox, Evernote, Email, iPad photo roll and iPad2 camera. Export MP4 movie files, PNG image files, and share the .XPL project file with others for collaboration. Explain Everything has been designed for use in educational, business, and entertainment settings. The original artwork and design concept was created by Joy Jee-Hae Hwang.

2. Showbie (@Showbie) As per their Facebook page:

Showbie is a website and mobile app that allows teachers to assign, distribute, and collect students’ assignments electronically. You can use Showbie on your computer, iPad, phone, or even tablet! Effortlessly assign, collect and review student work, anywhere!Showbie works with your favourite Mac, PC, and iPad apps to make classroom document sharing easy. Here’s How Showbie Works:
Create an assignment – Hand out materials to your class by saving them to the assignment’s shared folder.
Collect student work – Students’ saved files are automatically collected and organized, ready for you to review.
Review student work – Use your favourite app to view and mark-up each student’s submission.
Provide rich feedback – Save your feedback to each student’s assignment folder for them to pick up.

3. Subtext (@readwithSubtext) – Rachel Thomas, co-Founder of Subtext, gave a pretty thorough demo that totally impressed me. I c0-created an Independent Reading Site at my school 6 years for kids to upload book reviews and network about literacy. Subtext is ever so much more powerful in that it embraces social reading. As per their website:

Subtext makes it easy to interact with your students in the pages of digital books. You can post and answer questions, link to relevant Web content and create assignments and quizzes—all right in the text. Better yet, your students can share ideas and work together to make connections as they read. Think of it as anywhere, anytime classroom reading guided by you.

4. Proscope Microscope (@bodelinproscope) Finally Laurie Bartels (@brainbits) did a show-and-tell with her Proscope Microscope and the AirMicroPad app. There is a link on ProScope’s website where they offer free downloadable Science Education materials. From the AirMicroPad iTunes App Store description:

Made by Scalar Corporation, the original inventors of handheld microscopy, the AirMicro App and AirMicroPad App are made for the Scalar AirMicro and Bodelin ProScope Mobile, the first wireless handheld microscopes made specifically for the Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The AirMicro App allows the AirMicro/ProScope Mobile hardware to view live video and capture still images directly into the photo library on your Apple Mobile device. Combined with the hardware the AirMicro creates it’s own WiFi network so it can be used on as many as 253 Apple Mobile Devices simultaneously. The image fills the screen and resolution can be adjusted from QVGA to VGA. Simple to use yet robust for an entire classroom, clinic or CSI team to use in the field, AirMicro and ProScope Mobile have set a new level for true mobile scientific discovery. The AirMicro Handheld Microscope is sold and distributed exclusively in Japan and Asia by Scalar Corporation http://www.scalar.co.jp/ The ProScope Mobile is sold and distributed exclusively in North America by US partner Bodelin Technologies http://www.bodelin.com/proscopehr/proscope_mobile/

Note: Reshan shared a video he made (with Explain Everything) about a DIY “clip-on” microscope he built for about $5.00: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M2yseyd4-E

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My slides from “Collaborating with New Media and New Literacies”

From 1:00 – 2:15pm, I’m presenting Collaborating with New Media and New Literacies at the Pacific Northwest Association of Independent School (PNAIS) Fall Educators Conference.

Here are my slides as I’ll show them:

Here are my slides with notes:



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