Mobile App Reviews for Educators

Each month we'll review a highlighted app for iPad/iPod/iPhone or Android devices. We also invite you to add your comments and share with other educators how you used the highlighted app in your school.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reflections on the LESCN12 Conference

I'm sitting by a fireplace in the beautiful Mills Falls resort in Meredith, NH and reflecting over today's LESCN
conference. In the morning Tony Baldasaro (@baldy7) started us off in his keynote by challenging us to think about many aspects of learning in today's classrooms. Why do we sort and label students? By scores, by age, by predetermined paths? Learning should be personal and individualized he said. He used a visual example from Flicker of Desire Paths ( to demonstrate how humans want to follow their own desire path more than the ones we force them to. He also discussed the importance for educators to model building a positive digital footprint for students to follow in creating their own. He showed the example of one fathers digital message to his daughter in the "Google Chrome: Dear Sophie" video at I left his very well spoken keynote full of inspiration and ideas about a connected participatory society that our students are growing up in.

I also attended a session on gaming in education. Here I was presented with some new tools to try and followed some great discussions both in the session and on Twitter before heading on to co-present a session with Jenn Middaugh (@jmiddaugh) on "20 ways an iPad Can Be a Strong Educator Tool". I was happy to find I had learned something in my own session as Jenn modeled the apple TV tool being controlled wirelessly by multiple iPads. Then an educator in the audience shared an app that connects the ipad wirekessly to a projector turning it into a document camera named Board Cam. Neat stuff!

At the end if the day, I had the great honor of introducing Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal) at his end of the day Keynote. Patrick covered many concrete examples relative to current trends in educational technology. He showed how the 1:1 iPad program has impacted his school. He also let us see how his student tech team worked. What a great concept.... Student technology integration teams that earn a class credit. I love it! He played additional examples of 21st century learning to include a student video project on the importance of digital citizenship. All great examples of innovations in learning.

At the end of the day, I sat filled with new ideas, tools and views on technology in education. As I later sat by a warm fire in a quiet part of the resort where the conference took place, I reflected on what was the overall biggest thing I took away from the event. Looking back over all of the examples, discussions and ideas I encountered, I believe the biggest impression on me was the importance of educators having opportunities like this one to connect, explore, play and share with one another. There is so much value in the ability to connect and share with fellow educators but add on the ability to explore and play while making these connections and it becomes something powerful. Thank you to Patrick, Tony, Amy Cantone and everyone else that made our LESCN event such a great one and I look forward to connecting, learning, and sharing with each you in the very near future.

A Journey Into New Media Literacies

I had been working for the past year on a grant project through the New Hampshire Department of Education that provided opportunities for teams of teachers from different school districts to receive training and equipment that would equip them to become tech leaders in their schools. There were five groups of teams from across the state and each group could include a varying number of teams and participants.

My group contained five teams from five different School districts and a total of 19 participants that each had received an iPad, tickets to conferences and rigorous online training. The online learning piece found on exposed them to digital tools, concepts, and ideas to transform them into a future Tech Leader at their school.

One of my teams also came up with a very exciting project. They had decided to explore deeper into the concept of NML, or new media literacies, as defined by Henry Jenkins from They focused in on specific areas within new media literacies and created a toolkit for educators that both explained what NML is and create ready-to-use lesson plans for the classrooms. It was an ambitious proposal as they planned on meeting once a month reporting on pre-determined questions and assignments in a Google group, then going on to create a toolkit, working in the TLC grant program in addition to their current full-time teaching positions. They also presented their materials to the other teams in the grant of enough face-to-face session using hello slides and on the online piece for the other teams to respond to and using their own classrooms.

They presented their presentation to our teams recently as well as the teams of another group and I have to say I was very impressed with their final product. I collaborated on the project with their team leader, Robin Corbiel, throughout the year but I have to say that I have nowhere near the amount of energy this incredible educator has. Take a look at their project and all the wonderful things they put together throughout their journey into it NML.

TLC and NML project site