Monday, December 8, 2014

Instructional Technology Update Andover High School November 10 -14, 2014 An App, 2 Google Add Ons, Chrome Launcher and Collaboratively Using Forms

Color Splurge App

I have been working with Health Teacher Jackie Salvensen over the course of this year to integrate Google Docs into her courses. A side project she has taken on is the use of iPads in the Yoga class at Andover High School. As part of a station approach to her yogo studies she had students use the app Color Splurge from the Itunes App store on the iPad and edit photographs of themselves and add layers of colors over them. This free app worked really well and allowed students to photograph,edit and email their photos quickly.


EasyBib Google Docs Add On

This add on for Google Docs can help you and your students in the process of adding citations quickly and in the right format into the bottom of Google Docs. This add on enables you to select text and quickly search the web for the source and creates a well formatted citation at the bottom of the document. This is by far one of the easiest add ons with the biggest upside. It also does not require a Chrome Extension to work which is also a benefit. This add on was introduced to me by John Berube after the MassCUE 2014 conference and we have quickly had teachers jump onto using it.

The “Charts” Google Add OnCharts app.PNG
This add on enables the integration of charts derived from data from Google Spreadsheets to be integrated into Google Docs. This add on can be beneficial to science classes who are charting data and need to write reports and also reports which may have used a form to collect data.

Google Chrome Launcher Extension


This extension has enabled me to add well beyond my share of Chrome Extensions and Apps to my desktop. This launcher enables you to add favaorites within the launcher and also more easily find all the other apps you have added. I highly recommend this as you begin your foray into Google Chrome Apps.


Creating Collaborative Forms
Andover High School French teacher Peter Hall was recently working on a collaborative form with his students which he plans on having students in France respond to. This activity reminded me that while instructing on the use of collaborating on Forms it is important to remember that the form needs to be sent to collaborators to enable editing.


On other Google Docs the doc is shared with Forms it is sent to the others and they are added as collaborators.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update For November 1st -7th 2014 Andover Innovation Lab & Help Desk

Parth Valecha Andover Innovation Lab Student Inducted Into National Honor Society At Andover High School

I had the opportunity to attend the national honor Society induction because one of my former students that I had at the Andover innovation lab had selected me as a teacher who had inspired them. Parth Valecha  had worked on a business project last year during his time at the Andover Innovation Lab which combined bluetooth technology for headphones and sports which required swimming or boating. Parth and I had many in-depth conversations on his business plan and how he could more narrowly target his market.  It was an honor that he had invited me to this important event and selected me as a teacher. Parth is a hardworking student who will surely be successful in any venture he takes on.

Release Of Our Help Desk Promotional Video
With the editing of Dan Brennan and the assitance of some of our help desk students we have been able to produce a video which outlines the work we do at the Andover innovation lab & Help Desk.
Check it out below!

Math Department Head Working On Blog With Bryce Corbitt

This week Bryce Corbitt from the Andover innovation lab also began working on the Math Department website with Math Program Coordinator Katherine Richards. They were able to determine a layout that they would like to use with Google sites and also begin to conceptualize some of the content that will be included on the site.  Bryce is been a great asset to the team this year and I know he will do a great job working with Ms. Richards.  This project will probably take the next couple months to complete and will become one of his projects. Bryce has been a great resource to several teachers with his great attitude and approach to helping.

Homework Document for Google Drive

In the process of trying to simplify how to add homework in a streamlined way and Sherrett with parents and students using Aspen I have been showing the use of a Google doc with a shorten link.  On this Google doc I create a table and organize the tables according to the days and weeks of the school day this is an opportunity to keep it consistently organized homework schedule on a live document that teachers do not have to go into Aspen to edit.  This is one of the huge benefits of Google Docs and using shortened personalize the links in order to share materials.  By being able to edit the doc you can consistently update the homework assignments with those who view the consistent link located on the Aspen pages.

Best Practices for Sharing & Editing With Google Drive

I recently started having conversations with both the English and Social Studies Department members about creating a series of best practices for the use of Google Docs and the editing of longer papers.  This process requires an in-depth look at what are the best ways of using the commenting features, sharing features and add-ons that are available with Google Apps for Education.

One of the very cool add-ons that’s available is the Easy Bib for Google docs.  This add on enables students to select a piece of text in their paper and then search for a source for citation on the add one. 

The add on locates the source and adds the citation to an area at the bottom of their page and organizes the citations for the student.  This tool ultimately saves a lot of time and helps keep citations organized within a document.

Flubaroo Training-Tech Byte

This past week I conducted a training for the use of Flubaroo at the Andover Public Schools Tech Byte training. Flubaroo is a great add-on to assist with grading quizzes that are you created with the Google Apps for Education Forms documents.  I have created some tutorial videos that I will link to which shows you how to get started with using Flubaroo and how it can improve the way in which you streamline your quizzes that you provided classes. View Part 1 Of My Video Series On Flubaroo.

Pixlr Tool as Web Based Photoshop Alternative
This past week I was able to recommend the Pixlr tool to our web design teacher Mike Messina.  He was looking for a web-based alternative to Photoshop that allowed him to create graphics of different resolution and size and also enabled the ability to add different types of text and layer styles.  This tool is a great web-based tool that allows you to download any of the images that you create as well as upload images into use within the interface.  Definitely check this tool out if you're on a computer that you're not used to working on our really just need a great web-based option and don’t have Photoshop.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Andover Innovation Lab & Instructional Technology Update Andover High School Week Of October 27th- 31st 2014

What a great week to be back after a rejuvenating MassCUE conference at Gillette Stadium! At Andover High School we are really in the flow of integrating Google Sites, Google Classroom and a variety of other technology tools into the classroom.

Class Charts Seating Chart App
 I will start off with a share that I got from researching the ability to create class seating charts online with World Language teacher Jen Deschenes. The Chrome Application which is an application available in the Chrome web store on the Chrome Browser named "Class Charts" allows you to create web based seating charts for your classroom. It is simple to use and will help you create multiple class charts in a jiffy.

Health/Physical Education Department
On Monday I had the opportunity to work with the entire Health/Physical Education Department on the creation of their Google Accounts,what it means for them and how they can begin to create,share and work with students using the tools of Google Drive.

They were a great receptive group and many had great questions about getting started in simple ways. My suggestion for many of them was just using a single doc for their continuing update of homework assignments.

Mike Messina
Diagramming for Game Development
In the Digital Learning course Game Design Michael Messina is developing lessons which encourage students to look at the format in which games are developed with HTML5 for the web. Michael Messina has engaged students on a variety of project development concepts in both Web Design and Game Development and we are excited to see his projects through the semester.

Here is Michael outlining the pixel dimensions for students of a web interface of a game.

Karen Stevens
Karen Stevens Entrepreneurship course has been delving into the creation of business plans for their projects. Karen has been developing rubrics which will help students envision their business projects in terms of the key concepts of a business plan. The students have been excited to work on their own ideas and problem solve their concept development.

Dan Brennan & Bryce Work to update iPads
The help desk has been busy updating the iPad cart for the Social Studies department and preparing their formative projects for review. Be sure to check put their most recent blog writing which includes their perspectives on the MassCUE conference and their project work.

Librarian John Berube fresh off MassCUE has been suggesting some great new tools for staff to use in addition to the many research tools such as Ebrary and Boston Public Library tools he already administers. One tool he found was the presentation tool Emaze which can be alternative to other presentation tools such as Goolge Slides, Powerpoint and Prezi. Emaze's features include a very graphic interface for content and many nice templates.

Google Classroom Interface
Tom Powers has continued to power through the use of Google Classroom engaging his students with
the assignments and the ability to submit them online. He has pioneered the use of the platform at the high school and has begun using the high school lab as a tool with classroom to submit the students audio recording as assignments through the use of web tools such as Vocaroo which enables students to record their voice online and send a link to Mr. Powers in Google Classroom.

Jen with her Memes
My week ended with a great meeting with Jen Deschenes on fine tuning who has included the use of student created memes in her classroom to have students quickly form sentences using a "meme" app on their phones. Memes are small photos with text added to give context or create communication.

Jen is also using Google Drive to store student created audio files for quick sharing within folders on her drive.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Andover Innovation Lab & Help Desk Experiences At MassCue 2014-Lab Overview and Student Help Desk

On early  Wednesday October 22nd 5 students left early and  travelled to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro,Masachusetts from Andover High School as members of the Andover Innovation Lab and Help Desk to be part of the MassCUE(Massachusetts Computer Using Educators event in the form of the student help desk featured in the main concourse. The students participating were Eli Gukovsky,Ari Primak, Will Owen and Bryce Corbitt.

With the assistance of Dan Downs and Dan Brennan the students set up a video which promoted their endeavors at the help desk and helped outline the curriculum which they are part of at the high school. The video below helps outline the process of the Andover Innovation Lab and Help Desk.

This was a great opportunity for the students to better understand the huge movement they are apart of which empowers students to use technology more efficiently with teachers and enables them to work on their own innovative technology driven project. Students had an opportunity to network with other teachers who use technology as a main part of their instruction. 

The students also had a visit from Andover Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marinel McGrath who visited and chatted and tweeted out her visit with the group.

I was also able to present the Andover Innovation Lab curriculum to a roomful of teachers eager to see how we work on our projects and use blogging as a reflective form of the process. The presentation below outlines the design of the curriculum used at the help desk and provides an overview of several of the students projects. This was a highly beneficial opportunity to share what we do at the Andover Innovation Lab and how this model continues to evolve as we integrate technology in the district.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Instructional Technology Update- Andover High School-Grades 6-12 Daniel Downs Week of October 6th-10th 2014

This week began with a tour of Andover High School for a group of  Dutch Superintendents who visited to see how we currently integrate technology within our school. We were able we were able to make a video of their tour with a variety of different classrooms using technology. We  stopped in to the special education rooms, language lab as well as the programming courses labs. Dan Brennan the Media/Video also gave a first hand tour of the Andover Tv Studio. I was able to provide a detailed description of the work students do at the innovation lab and help desk for our visitors as well.
Their tour concluded with a question and answer session with the entire faculty at the end of the day. They also gave out of the gift of the book The UnDutchables to Dr Lord and others who were on the tour. This was a great opportunity to share     our perspectives on technology in education.

I had the opportunity to work with Isa Perez in the World Language department to have an overview of Google Classroom and how she could use it with her students. We also went over the process of adding new page, re-sizing images and content for those pages.  As you can see from the photo of her Google site her page looks great and she is excited to add a calendar for her students as well.

Also in the World Language Department Diana Zawil has been using a variety of great tools to integrate technology into her courses. She is using the cartoon creator
to make cartoons of herself and others to explain language learning opportunities.

She is also using QR codes with her students to quickly get them engaged with content driven language games that she can use to track their vocabulary growth in Spanish. The use of QR codes is growing as creating these codes is easy and can take students to web links,text,images and a variety of other web based content.

I am very impressed with how Diana has integrated these tools and it expands on her ever growing knowledge of the use of technology in the foreign language classroom.

Students in the Innovation Lab have begun working development of tools to assist with learning a Google Sites for teachers.

We also received our t shirts and banner for the library. The banner will hang on the back wall of the library and also be a backdrop for videos and also go along with us to a field trips and other presentations of the students plan on making of the next several months.
Our Blog:

It's great to finally have something to help us identify ourselves in the library we also have the opportunity to interview process Alicia a student who was part of last year's help desk to be in our promotional video.

At the end of the day on Friday I assisted Dr. Lord with adding a video from his phone straight to his blog to share out with parents. Dr.Lord does a great job of sharing out his experiences from the week on his Principals blog every Friday.
Find his blog here:

On Friday I have the opportunity to work with Assistant Principal John Norton to assist a student with a broken his hand to take notes for his classes with Evernote.
Find Evernote here:

I appreciate John Norton pulling me aside  and having the opportunity to work with the student.
It was great to be able to review the benefits of Evernote and how the company has added many new sharing features including the sharing and multiple notebooks.

A great tool I would like to share out this week is the the Cloudconvert Google Chrome App.
Find it here:

This app works within the Chrome Browser and enables you to take video files of a variety of formats convert them to your choice of format(avi,mp4,mkv) and reuploads them automatically back to your Google Drive. The process really is seamless and saves many conversion steps. This is great for sharing online video in a variety of formats.

From The Vault: Business Website Outline Planning Sheet For Business Website Introduction-Web Design 2011

As a continuation of the Business Evaluation Website this sheet is the introduction to the outline of the students ideas for a business website

This sheet can be used to help students to define the key links in the navigation and the minimum amount of content that should be expected in their design. In this lesson for the business website I also included the integration of an image gallery This sheet asks the student define how they would use the image gallery in their design.

This sheet also asks students to target their design towards a specific market which the site will be targeted for and an opportunity to explain the details and specifics of their product or service.

The final question from this sheet asks students to consider how the design elements which will be integrated into this site will influence the design. This is an opportunity to discuss the impact of colors,borders,color schemes,layout and use of text styles and fonts.

As an evaluation of their idea this sheet provides an opportunity to narrow the students scope and focus on the impact of the design on the marketing within the website.

Focus Areas:
Navigation & Planning 
Target Market of Business Concept(customer needs)
Image gallery
Design Elements(color,layout,text)
Project Scope

From The Vault: Business Website Evaluation Lesson-Web Design 2011

I wanted to share some old lessons as I begin to scan them and add them to my Google Drive Account for safe keeping. I am going to focus on the web design lessons and Sports Marketing lessons as they provided a great amount of student creativity and research. This lesson was first used in 2011. Be sure to notice the links included in the bottom.

Lesson Plan Links:
Part 1 Lesson Link:
Part 2 Lesson Link:

Page 2 Link

Website List Page 1
Website List Page 2

In this lesson I provided students with a series of questions to help them evaluate a variety of business websites. I enjoyed giving this lesson because it urged students to evaluate business websites
against competing businesses on key factors to the consumer.  You will also see that the questions urge students to look closely at the graphic,color ,navigation and layout of content of the websites which were included in their list(links at the bottom of this page).

This lesson also has students engage with the website as a consumer or targeted market. This helps the students to think critically about the content and how it is presented. This assignment also urges students to look for the "it" factor in terms of the success of the design. I would introduce this lesson by providing them with these sheets and a page of web links (included below) to have them search the sites and answer these questions.  This lesson is the first in a unit on the development of a business website from concept to coding and presenting.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Instructional Technology Weekly Update-Andover High School & Wood Hill Middle School-Andover Innovation Lab September 29th-October 3rd 2014

This week I had the opportunity to learn more about Nettexts at Woodhill Middle School. Sara Mensale the Digital Learning Specialist at Woodhill Middle School and I participated in professional development with several groups of teachers from the school. Nettexts is a web based application for a variety of platforms which enables the creation of lessons,units and entire curriculums using Open Educational Resources often called OER.  It was great to get a refresher on how this software can help manage open educational resources for teachers who want to implement them into their courses.

At the Andover Innovation Lab and Help desk we had a busy week with students preparing their Project Development Forms which help them outline three formative projects they will be working on over the next several weeks. All of the students are very motivated to work on this phase of their projects and they have all been so productive this semester so far. I really expect that in this phase we will really see their projects take shape and they will start to see their research pay off. This week Andre D.  is a student of the week he has been busy working on his Android Studio project and is finding resources to get his project moving.

To view these documents and the students blog please visit:

All of the blog entries found on the website this week will relate to the students ability to complete the Project Development Form and give us more insight into what their thoughts are about their projects as they move forward. Take a minute to view the finished blog entries on the website and read all the entries for this week.  The students  have all shown a great level of interesting applying technology to their learning.

In terms of assisting teachers around the high school this week Bryce Corbitt started with updating the iPad cart for the Social Studies department. Bryce was eager to get started with this and learn how the iPad's could be updated and how new apps need to be added to the iPad's and need to be cleared for new projects. He will continue working on these projects for teachers in the next coming weeks. Be sure to check out my screencast video of the expectations of this week's work and what the potential projects and items on our to do list where.

This week Dr. Lord decided to share out many department members websites that have been in the development over the past couple weeks. Here is a  link to his blog which contains the links he shared out in the past week. 
Dr. Lords Blog
I had a great time collecting them from teachers. With speaking to teachers about these blogs I had great discussions about the content and the direction they were thinking of taking. In the past week I've also had an amazing opportunity to begin the training of some of the high school teachers with the use of Google Sites and Google classroom.

Many teachers have decided to build websites not only by working with me but also taking the TechByte  trainings with Joanne Najarian at the central office on Tuesdays. I've begun to introduce teachers to the classroom and how the documents can be easily shared amongst each other. I think one of the huge benefits of working with in the high school so closely is my opportunity to sit down with teachers in their break rooms and discuss how I can help them with technology. One of the departments that I've gotten to know more closely is the World Language Department in which we can share a variety of strategies for organizing audio files and also creating websites to help them teach. We have also worked closely to create forms for students to submit information for quizzes and surveys in a variety of languages.

This is an exciting time of year with teachers and technology. We are in a time of great experimentation and transition. Each week I see a transition of skills and adaptability to use technology in the classroom.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Andover Innovation & Instructional Technology Update Week Of September 22-26 2014 - Google Sites & Classroom -1:1 Initiative

This past week I spent a number of appointments with teachers introducing them to the benefits of Google Classroom,Google Sites and web based google documents and calendars. As I introduce the interface of Google Classroom to teachers it is amazing how this platform will improve the communication and sharing of assignments between students and teachers. This video from Google helps explain this interface.

Helping to assist teachers in adopting Google sites has also been relatively seamless. Teachers quickly choose to create a site within their login then choose a template and start choosing their page names. This is by far one of these easiest tools to quickly get teachers on board with organizing their resources for the classroom.

In the photo above Spanish Teacher Tom Powers investigates transferring his classroom to Google Classroom. We had the opportunity to discuss the pro's and cons. Tom likes the ability to add assignments seamlessly but would like a better way to share his homework postings.

I worked with Health Teacher Jackie Salvensen to upload a number of her Word documents into Google Drive. The upload took longer than we expected so we made a follow up appointment to complete the process. Completing this process will enable her to back up her documents and also to share them more easily as links to others.

I was also able to have a follow up appointment with Adriana Gonzalez to help her add a homework calendar using Google to her Blogger Blog. Adriana has worked hard to get her blog up and running to share resources and documents.

Web Design Teacher Michael Messina shared with his students the The Creative Process In 10 Steps with his class. This is a video he introduced to help students be inspired as they embark on the concept development stage of their web design process.

This past week brings together a number of components related to educational technology initiatives in the Andover Public Schools. Andover teachers are at a crossroads in which hopefully in a short number of months teachers in the 8th grades will have classrooms in which all students will have their own Macbook Air computer.

On Monday night(9/30) the parents of these students will have the opportunity to weigh in on their opinions and perspectives on this initiative. The planning and professional development strategies for teachers related to this goal are also a huge responsibility becuase we need to support the learning of the students as well as the teachers adaptation to having the consistent access to devices with their curriculum.

The Mac platform enables a high level of scalability for both the teachers and the learning curve for the students. It also makes the process of protecting the city’s network easier. In my opinion the district is ready for this shift. We are ready to embrace the wonderful new challenges to support teachers and embrace the new engaged learning environment this will create for students.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School-Week Of September 2-5 2014

The startup of the Andover Innovation Lab/Help Desk was great as we have 7 students beginning projects. The new format at the help desk will have students creating webcasts. They are also going to be blogging soon about their projects and I look forward to reading about their learning process and projects. Students are ramped up to participate in ways to help assist teachers with the use of technology in their classrooms.

The District’s Tech Con has once again started the year with a bang and I had the great opportunity to present on a variety of Project Based Learning Technology Tools for the classroom and also presented on the Integration Of Social Media Into Our School District with Director Of Digital Learning Joanne Najarian. I have included the links to our presentations below.

New photo added to gallery

I have had many opportunities to discuss the implementation of the Lego Mindstorm Kits into the Middle School science curriculum with Steve Sanborn the Program Coordinator for the Science/Engineering Department in Andover. Its great to see the enthusiasm he has for this program and the opportunities this program will present for the integration of coding,engineering and robotics into his program.
New photo added to gallery

It was rewarding this week to reconnect with the teachers about technology and see where their goals are at for the year. I had the opportunity to work with Louise Cummings and her team in the Transitions Program at the high school to integrate Google Calendar across their computers so they could manage the support for different students needs.  

On additional professional levels I just completed the development of a curriculum for a course in “Web Application Development” for Bunker Hill Community College. This course includes to ebooks which delve into the context of web applications in the modern world of web development as well as a technical project which allows students to work their way through a project through the course. I am proud to complete the development of this course and look forward to its implementation.

So we have taken off with a huge push and plan on completing so many new technology projects this year! Looking forward to a great year of collaboration,sharing and learning with the fine teachers,administration and staff of the Andover Public Schools

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School Week Of August 25-28 2014

Over the course of the summer I had d the opportunity to teach ,develop new curriculum and view the transformation of a variety of classroom and library spaces for the Andover Public Schools Digital Learning Department.

Summer Work
I taught a Web Design & Development course at Minuteman High School for 3 weeks which enabled me to review and research new tools for the new Web Development course  which is going to be rolled out this fall at Andover High School. The Web Design & Development course is one of 3 new courses which in include Game Development and Exploring Computer Science course. These courses are part of the newly formed Digital Learning Department at Andover High School.

As preparation for the new Exploring Computer Science course I participated in a great  training at Google in August with the new Digital Learning Teacher Michael Messina. We were
not only able to witness the “Google “ work experience but also got great training in making computer science more equitable for a wide range of students. The experience at Google was fantastic and getting to know many of the other teachers participating in this opportunity was extremely rewarding.

Early in the summer I was able to use mobile application development curriculum that I had been developing with a grant with the National Science Foundation and Bunkerhill Community College. The course uses video screencasted tutorials and sequenced code lessons to enable students to create an Android Mobile Application. This was a rewarding opportunity to begin teaching this curriculum  which I had been  developing with a former student of mine over the past year.

Teacher Successes 2013-2014
I was also able to reflect on the success of the teachhers with technology at Andover High School. So many teachers challenged themselves with adopting Google Docs and so many new web 2.0 tools to enhance their teaching. The students who participated in the first year of the Andover Innovation Lab produced so many amazing projects and experiences. Moving forward I have created a new website to showcase their writing and projects We are excited to be scheduled to present at the Masscue conference in October and be a part of their student showcase and help desk.

In addition to the new website we plan on having a theme introduced each year for students to investigate.  This year we are embracing the theme of creative coding. Students can research open source programming languages to create graphics. Students will have the option to pursue this as opposed to their own tech study. Additional new initiatives for the help desk this year includes a  plan to integrate group webcasts on instructional technolog topics. We want to continually bridge the gap between students skills and application of technolgoy and the teacher’s use in the classroom.

Prototype Classrooms
At the close of the last school year an opportunity arose to update 3 classrooms at Andover High School as well as the Media Center with 21st century learning furniture. During the month of August furniture was dilligently put together and represent three prototype classrooms. The classrooms are aimed to be models of furniture which supports learning with technology and also making classrooms more adaptable and flexible to group learning.

In two English classrooms and one math classroom students have some pretty cool new desks and tables. The library also has new tables and chairs are on the way to have a new 21st century feel to the space. Moving forward this library space will shift from a static space to one in which it will be easier for students to use their laptops and other computing devices to research,communicate and collaborate. We look forward to seeing this space transform.