My @PlayOsmo Coding pack came in!

Nadia and OsmoMy Osmo Coding pack just came in. In order to truly test it out, I gave it to my daughter, Nadia, to play with. I did not really teacher her anything and she does not have any experience with Scratch, but that did not stop her. The Osmo coding software on the iPad does a great job of visually introducing the meaning of the tiles, how they work together, and how to modify the tiles to control the commands sent to the character on the screen. Before too long, Nadia was bumping quickly up through the basic levels.

This EdTech tool fits nicely before coding sites like Scratch,, and, and after non-digital analogue¬†coding activities (1, 2, 3). Even the design of the Osmo Coding pack begs to sit nicely between ¬†tactile and digital media. It’s a really good design that not a lot of companies are making products for.

As with all of the Osmo packs, I recommend good lighting and a light, solid colored table to play on. Our dining room table, as seen in the video below, is kicks out more glitches than there would normally be in a school environment.

Coming later today…Summer/August PD signup registration #NJSD

Screenshot_Summer:August PD registrationOur summer/August PD registration is all set and ready to be shared through District email with our staff very soon. You will be able to select a combination of summer and August time slots as long as the requirements described on the front page are met.

You will also be able to come back and edit your choices if you change your mind. This form will be open until July and itineraries reflecting your choices and room locations will be emailed to you shortly after the closing of the form.

Our pupil services/curricular sessions include various sessions of AVMR training, Common Assessment Data Collection/Analysis and Instructional Planning, Calkins Units of Study, DLM modules, Career Cruising, SUSA, and more.

Staff will also choose various options for technology training. Our EdCamp is offered on almost every day for both elementary and secondary certified staff. In addition to this option, a SMART representative will be coming in to train interested elementary teachers on our SMART Amp environment. Staff who have completed both Schoology 1 and Schoology 2 courses can choose to take an advanced Applied Schoology session. Video in the Classroom is another technology offering for our staff that have completed both Tools of the Trade 1 and Tools of the Trade 2.

All staff will also choose a half our time slot for medical training.

Thanks, staff, for taking the time to register!


The Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy via @ConnectSafely @Lary Magid


Below is a link to a great article outlining the basics of student data privacy. Student data privacy is a growing area of consideration for me not only because of my new role in public education but also because of the pervasiveness of online services and projects we are asking our students to create in often 1:1 learning environments.

My largest takeaway from this article is that a process is needed to continue vetting our terms of service with a close eye on the items mentioned in this article. We also need to begin exposing our staff to these concepts. Luckily, we have a nice tech PD structure to be able to get this word out when we choose.

I am really happy that we have a district-wide¬†LMS. Our Enterprise Schoology environment has been verified by TRUSTe’s Privacy Seal, maintains full SSL encryption, and they have a solid privacy policy. In addition to these qualities, Schoology is able to host a lot of basic integrations for us, eliminating the need for a variety of outside web services. Videos, audio, discussions and a lot more can be created right in this environment. Glad we have it!

On the other hand, Schoology does not do everything. Considering this article’s content is the first step in larger growth for our district and the¬†privacy of our students’ data. This article brings clarity to the fundamentals of this issue, but also provides some great resources educators and questions to consider when reviewing services.

The Educator’s Guide to Student Data Privacy

Meet Osmo. :)¬†… and help a child learn to code! @PlayOsmo

ad37220.logo_300Osmo is basically a mirror you hang off the top of an iPad camera so it can read specially designed blocks that kids move around to play educational games. The newest set of blocks they released teaches children the basics of coding – the thought process required to think through a problem’s solution.

Two Christmases ago my daughter got her first Osmo kit that included Tangram¬†, Words, and Masterpiece. These are all great tools that are finding their way into our District’s elementary libraries. When you mix a child, an adult, and Osmo you find yourself in a powerfully engaging and educational environment.

The new Coding set of blocks seems like a great fit for our primary students before they venture into popular beginning coding tools like Scratch and Check it out:

Using Collections with @Schoology Courses to Keep Your Materials for the Summer

schoologyJust like you clean and organize your physical classroom at the end of the school year, teachers using our District LMS will want to clean up their courses to their Resources. Doing so allows a teacher to continue to work on course materials over the summer, keeps archived courses pristine, and allows new courses to be populated with content in just a few clicks.

This is great stuff! If anyone needs assistance, just let me know!

This video below from this blog post shows how to tidy up your courses at the end of the school year.

Here come #NJSD custom PLD itineraries…with a side of @leolaporte The Tech Guy

Fellow NJSD staff members, your custom PLD itineraries for our Friday, May 27th, PLD. You should be getting them within the next few hours. If all goes well. May our registration Google Form hold true and the scripts run strong!!

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to fill out the registration. I consider this knot untied!

May 27th PLD Itineraries

Excited to try my @AnkerOfficial Power Core 20100 battery pack!

A1271011_TD01So, after I shattered my screen on my iPhone 6 Plus a few months ago, I brought it in to Batteries Plus to get a new digitizer and screen put on my phone. They messed it up quite badly. Battery drains really fast, there are color distortions on the top part of the screen, and the proximity sensor does not turn off the screen when answering the phone. I need to pony up to get this fixed eventually.

But, for the time being, I need to have a battery backup and I think the Anker Power Core 20100 should to the trick well. Bought it here. Should charge my phone a few times before needing to be replenished. Going to helpful at conferences and this summer when I am off to Miami Beach, Fl for the Schoology convention.

Ending our @BrightBytes Day

BrightBytesAfter reviewing our data findings in our school group, we are sharing out to the larger group our data findings in each of our areas of needs. We still need to make our goals a bit more concrete and create concrete actions for our staff.

I’m coming away with not only our data findings, but also the idea of having examples of tools and practices for each of the 4C’s in our elementary, middle, and high school grade levels.

Additionally, left on the table is to explore the Digital Privacy, Safety, and Security Module Framework survey being developed by Clarity. Also, Early the Warning Framework is a survey designed to mix demographic, academic, attendance, and behavior data to help flag potential opportunities to help students avoid dropping out of school. There is also a Leadership Framework survey tool to help identify needs and expectations of our leaders.

Designing for Success with @BrightBytes

TreeWhat is design thinking?

Design thinking is a¬†way of thinking as a solution finding process, it’s about solving problems for others.

  • Needs Assessment: What do we need. What are we providing?
  • Design and Development: How do we do our work? What role does tech play?
  • Feedback and Adjustment: How do we measure efficacy? How quickly do we iterate?
  • Delivery: What delivery channels do we use? How do we spread the word?

Planning for Action: Private source document framework.

@BrightBytes: General Beginnings

Question MarkWondering about breaking our District down into 3 levels:

  • Elementary
  • Secondary
  • High School

What are our goals and concrete tools to use in the 4 C’s and what tools for each of these grade levels?

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity

So, something like:

Elementary Communication
Tools: Schoology Groups, Schoology Status Updates/Comments, ¬†…

Elementary Collaboration
Tools:¬†GAFE Tools, SMART Amp, …

Elementary Critical Thinking
Tools: ??

And on and on…

This is a broad general idea for a place to begin. Identify the¬†4 C’s and provide concrete tools for general grade levels to gain access to incorporating communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. Then we can break this down building by building for custom¬†director to principal reports.


CASE Framework

Speech BubbleLots of data and lots of understanding needed in what we are looking at. Choosing a goal, and choosing actions towards that goal is a lot of work. Simplicity is the key first step Рstarting small. How do we make the large amount of data break down into simple, small goals that administration and staff can consume easily? This is an important part of this journey.

And, Our Work Begins…

Aligning Vision, Mission, Goals & Initiatives

What is our District direction? Aligning our curricular and instructional technology goals. How does our District technology help support curricular growth? How does curriculum help support or instructional technology growth?

How fun for this to become a two-way street!