Monday, December 03, 2007

How to get free text message for school closings.

Here are some free online resources you can sign up for to hear about schools closings.

WCSH6- this one requires your cell phone to accept text messages, it took me less than 5 mins. to sign up.

WMTW- this one requires an email address to get the alert, it took my less than 5 mins. to sign up.
-this is the Maine newspapers and you need to sign up to be a member first, then select to be notified about storm closings, this took about 10 min. to sign up.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Technology changes our perspective all the time.

This is an image taken onboard Kaguya, a Japanese probe, on our moon. The rest of the details are from NASA. " The Moon's surface is a region near its south pole. On Earth, you can see Australia (center) and Asia (low right). The upper side of the Earth is the Southern Hemispher, thus Australia looks "upside down". Credit: JAXA/NHK.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Latest Links for Teachers!

Here are my site suggestions for this week!

A collection of great teacher/student resources from Eduhound and Time Magazine.

Great resources by the teacher for the teachers.

Register and join Teacher Domain, sponsored by WGBH

There are a wealth of free video resources. This one caught my eye! Metals in Hydrochloric Acid

If you have heard of the 1-1 laptop for third world countries, for the next 12 days there is an opportunity for anyone to purchase one for themselves and donate one to a third world country( this means it is a 200.00 donation) as part of the 399.00 price. You can read more details here. I've ordered mine and can't wait to find out which country will get my donated one.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving break and I will have more ideas after that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Route 21, which way?

Are you looking for Route 21? If not, then you should be, check this link and see what you think.
More later.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

District Technology Fall Newsletter 2007

Check this link for the district technology newsletter.

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November a Giving Month

November for our family is a giving month. I would like to promote these giving ideas.

Click here to help feed the world. What happens at this website, you have a chance to click the click here to give free food button. Then 100% of the sponsor money goes to charity. How do they do this? Well, the site also promotes some sales of items that they are hoping you will stop by and purchase. However, the beginning for all of us can be click and someone will be getting some food.

The next giving idea
This one I particularly like. You can read about how this works in detail.  Basically,  I am going to purchase a laptop and when I do, a laptop will also be purchased and given to a student in a designated country.  I will have a laptop that my students can use and I will feel good about providing for another.

The final idea, not as magnanimous however, it is important to our community. Take part in this online survey as a student, parent or teacher. This survey gives our community a voice and some very good data which will go a long way to improving how we use technology in our district. Thanks for giving back.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

New Tools for Adding a blog post.

All I do it type my message and edit, then post.
Here is a great website. WOCSD District

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Big news October 15, 2007

You can take part in a FreeOnline workshop this week and next. K12OnlineConference
Take part in the national SpeakUP Netday survey. This gives our district great information about how we are using technology compared to our answers from last year and compared to the USA. It is very helpful in planning.
Click here SpeakupSurvey 2007
Our password is wocsd

Sunday, October 14, 2007

First snow of the Sugarloaf 07-08 Season! One more month until skiing!

ACTEM07 Will Richardson's Opening

This is the 20th year for the ACTEM technology educators workshop.

Listening to Will Richardson's keynote.


changes in politics with YouTube, myspace, blogs as social networks

changes in journalism, the world has instant connection with their cell phone and cameras.

75% of media is shared peer to peer

Prince gave out 100,000 copies of his new CD.

Read Wikinomics!

Not about competition in business about collaboration and cooperation.

Looking at Clustr map, and why do all these folks come and visit Will's blog. All have some connection to the thoughts, the conversations and the thinking. Humbled by the fact that after 18 years in a high school, and then looking at the map, why?

The past 6 years of blogging has provided more growth, than all his course work in all the years.Kids are figuring this out. Look at the size of their classroom.

TakingITGlobal- online community for youth about world issues.

Fanfiction- you can add to the book.

Where kids write and have reviews and connections. doing this on their own. Kids make networks of people who are passionate about their favorite topic.

Who is teaching kids myspace?

Someone needs to model and teach myspace/online presence.

We need to build social spaces and model how to do this.

Clarance Fischer is building spaces for his students.

He has them start at Nata Village in South Africa, ravaged by AIDS and HIV. Clarance has his students blog about this. Nnow they are having students from Nata Village commenting on her blog, one of Clarance's students.

44645, text for google, way to get an answer to every question you need an answer to.

MIT Opencourseware-

Need to find the information when you need it, need to know the ways to find the information, all information.

Go to Wikipedia and spend a couple hours digging deep.

How many teach Wikipedia? We have to think differently about what if we need kids to memorize the content.

If we as educators, can not find who owns a website and publishes it, then we are illiterate. We need to teach students how to do this, we need to do this.

How to get teachers to connect to experts from outside the the classroom.

Will's project with Secret Life Of Bees.

Sue Monks Kidd, joined his clasroom blog and she answered questions. She taught Will's class more about SLB than he ever could. Great science project where kids interact with scientists.

Vicki's Flat Classroom Project, exceptional Flat Classroom project

Radio WillowWeb elementary kids podcasting the classroom news.

Our kids are not waiting for us to catch up. We need to go there with the students.

We need to learn to model the safe, ethical ways to use these tools.Most teachers haven't put the new tools in their own practice. Teachers are just digitizing the old worksheets and putting into the same ole same ole into technology. We need to support teachers in finding new ways for students to collaborate creatively and safely.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Getting Ready for K12online conference

Usually, when I go to a conference I blog my notes and reflections. Seems funny to be sitting in my home office, participating in an online keynote for the k12online conference.(Follow the previous link to learn how you can get credit for participating in this online conference.) However, since I am so used to backchanneling during a presentation, or blogging, I decided that this should be the same even though I am home and participating in this. Why am I not backchanneling or skype chatting while viewing this? (Although I am watching the twitter comments to see what others are saying about David's keynote.) Well, since it is an asynchronous presentation, others who are viewing this could be at a different spot in the presentation, so I will blog, and post and reflect with others later.This certainly captures David Warlick's whole premise, we need to create our own boundaries, our own rules. I can no longer just sit and git. I need to be actively participating and creating even when I am listening.
-are we are parent's future?
-are our students their parent's future, their teacher's future?
-loved David's son video, gotta know the territory!
-do we know our territory?
-we cut off our students when they enter our classrooms, we chop their tentacles, their network
-are we over-managing our environment in our classrooms, are we cutting our students off from their networks?
-ouch an encyclopedia with outdated material compared to wikipedia constant updates and  new content
-I am waiting for the little ladies! too!
-our info-savvy students,  are without the benefit of gravity!, they always have a neighborhood at their fingertips
-new information landscape-we educators need to learn how to harness this-in our content areas
-unpredictable future- we educators are preparing students for an unpredictable future, teach them to teach themselves
Oh, the little old lady!
Thanks David for kicking off the k12online conference!
If you would like to view the keynote, follow the URL.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

My 3 reasons to join the K12Online Conference

You can see other reasons here!
1. I could take online workshops anytime I wanted.
2. I was able to comment to, listen to, view presentations with others from around the planet.
3. I was able to sign up for graduate credit!!!

I had so much fun attending last I, I signed on and was to chose to present. Join in the fun.

Check out the teasers and choose your own staff development.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Great Research Sites for students K-6.

Here are some good research sites for kids, they may need some supervision to get things in the correct search spaces.
Kids Tools for searching the Internet

KidsClick!- designed by librarians

Time for Kids Homework Helper


Big6Kids a great place to organize

Marvel KIDS- Maine's virtual Library- you will need your library card and bar code number!
At Marvel, you will also be able to search by reading level.

Yahooligans- now Yahoo Kids

Ask Jeeves for Kids

CIA Factbook

These are the first research sites that come to the front of the pack. Remember that although these sites are rated for children K-6, there are still items that may not be appropriate for your student. Internet research should always be done with adults supervising.l

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I just loved this statement. When was the last time you felt like this?

My good friend Jose R, made this remark on his blog this week. I just love how everything came together for him. I asked if I could share and well, open source!

I think I first heard the term; "Open Source Learning" in chat in the Webcast Academy.  I thought I knew what it was. I figured it referred to us choose what content we wanted to learn on the internet.  I heard Will Richardson refer to ideas on the Read-Write Web and the like.  I also keep up with other superbloggers like Wesley Fryer, Miguel Ghulin, David Warlick, Christopher Sessums, Steven Downes just to name a few.  I even particpated in K12Online last year and Web Heads in Action Online Conference this year along with Necc2007 not to mention everything happening at edtechtalk.  Nevertheless understanding comes through the practice or application and not theory.  Not until Webcast Academy did I begin to understand Open Source Learning. It just all clicked today.  I got a call from Kevin Sandridge a teacher in central Florida, we had a long talk about web 2.0 and implications for Second Language Learners, Yesterday Susan was asking about classes to recruit for youthbridges. I had a conversation with Chris Craft about a project on digital storytelling on Friday.  And Today it just came all together.  Dennis was uploading his file to Webcast Academy. It didn't show up in the flash player.  I thought I would help out.  How hard could it be.  80 minutes later with Susan patiently waiting on the sidelines we defeated the audacity gremlins and sucessfully uploaded the file.  I felt great and was happy to be able to contribute.  Open Source Learning means building on collective knowledge.  NOW, I've GOT IT!

­ I hope you get a chance to try this out for yourself. Leave a comment if you have a reflection about this.

Over and Out,

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

This is a good thing! This is my professional development!

81%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site

Eight Random Things Meme

I was tagged by my great Canadian friend Sharon Peters and Wes Fryer, so here goes.
Here are the Rules:

    * Post these rules before you give your facts
    * List 8 random facts about yourself
    * At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
    * Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Okay, 8 random things about me. This could be fun.

1. I love skiing, just love it, 50+ days a year.
2. During the summer, I spend time gardening.
3. My High School English teachers did not think I was a good writer, I think I have finally stopped believing      that.
4. I am a Webhead class of 2006.
5. Although I am a Women of Web 2.0, my husband and I have 3 young men in our house.
6. My ipod has more podcasts than songs and photos combined.
7. I love to make up passwords for people!
8. I have yet to find my comfort zone, I am always living on the edge.

Well, that was fun! Now for my victims!
Alice Barr,  Michael Richards, Jason Hando, Chrissy Hellyer, Melinda Miller, Susan Ettenheim
Hope you have fun!

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

MLTI-emints workshop in Castine, ME August 2007


This workshop is really happening. There are so many new tools that have been put into place since June. I will share them as I find and experience them.

I've been in workshops with David Warlick today and I"ve learned lots about the tools and people who are using them. There are so many new things.

This morning at low tide I found the most unreal sea stars or star fish of many sizes and many colors.I've made a bubbleshare feed for you to see what I saw.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Thanks to Rachel, NZ, for this heads up about the 10 year anniversary of blogging. It was a surprise blogging has been around that long. I've been blogging since I believe the school year of 2003, and in earnest since 2005 when I went on sabbatical and wanted to stay in touch with my students. Now I have many blogs, one for staff, one for, my facebook, my, and the list goes on.

So, Happy Blogiversary! If you aren't posting (writing) to your own blog yet, try reading a few.

Here is the Wall Street Journal article explaining the 10 year history.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Parent Information about Technology in WOCSD #18

Parent Technology Information for WOCSD #18

The WOCSD District Technology Committee has spent the year reviewing how technology is used in the classroom and throughout the district. A number of changes and recommendations have come from this review. The committee wanted to update the community on the progress the district has made with regard to technology both in the classroom and throughout the district. If you have any questions please contact

Internet Safety DVD at library: In January a very informative program on internet safety, presented by Brad Russ,  that went into specifics about My space, IM, cyberbullying, and preserving your online identity.  The program was recorded and is available on DVD at the Wells Public Library and each school. Be sure to check it out and take a look at it. Thanks to Reg Bennett for recording this event. Thanks to Nancy Cotty and Cheryl Mills for organizing this event. You can continue the conversations here at  or . The podcast of the evening is a this address or you can use this address

Technology expectations for teachers and administrators:
Beginning in the fall all teachers and administrators within the district will be using basic technology skills and will be expected to incorporate these skills in the classroom on a regular basis. A list of skill requirements was developed by the committee and approved by the administration. All teachers have completed an online survey. The survey will shape the professional development and other continuing education opportunities which will be offered.  Support will be offered through Adult Education classes, online classes, outside workshops and conferences and local workshops.

Moodle to be used for communication:
Another exciting change is the addition of a moodle that will be used by teachers throughout the district. A what? A online software that was designed to manage class or course content. Teachers and administrators can use the Moodle  as a place to share information, provide quizzes for students, provide surveys and places for students to share projects. The district will support teachers in their learning of the Moodle opportunities. This will be a multi year project as there are many different ways to use the Moodle. Teachers will use this system to communicate with each other, students and parents. In the long run it will enable much flexibility in communicating with parents and students since both groups will be able to access homework assignments, papers, and potentially grades among other things. There will be more information on how parents can use this new technology to their advantage in the fall. This new system will replace the current

     On-line announcements: A major change at Wells Elementary School began this spring. In an effort to save paper the school began a paperless announcement system.  Also in response to the results of a National Technology Use survey, parents requested announcements go directly to their email, rather than parents checking out a webpage for announcements. Instead of sending home notices to every student on Fridays the school began sending an email announcement with notices attached in pdf format. In the fall this paperless system will continue. At the junior high and senior high schools the goal is to have all announcements posted on the web sites on a daily basis. This will enable parents to easily keep track of upcoming events and other vital school information. The committee feels strongly that this is a very important part of good communication between schools and parents. The School Committee commented during a recent meeting commented that many people in the community are pleased with the ease of email contact with staff.

Free software: In an effort to leverage our tax dollars where is matters most, the district technology committee recommended the district look at open source software.   This software is what is called open source software, a free, downloadable version of a product that is under development, and fully operational. This program is very similar to Microsoft Office, but students will be able to save their work in a format that can be opened on any types of computer operating system and within Microsoft Office. In other words, your child will not have to worry if he saves it on a school mac, but has a pc at home. Additionally, if you do not have Microsoft Office, or a certain piece of it, you can download the open source program for free without fear of introducing a virus onto your computer. Businesses all over the world are switching to this program. You can find additional information about this software at  HYPERLINK ""(for pc's) or _NeoOffice__ (for mac's). All schools will be using open source software for students including Firefox, a browser by, Neooffice at, OpenOffice at and the Moodle at

Virtual High School: After reviewing computer and technology courses offered at high schools throughout York and Cumberland Counties we discovered that WHS is one of just two school districts that does not offer these courses as electives. We currently are in discussions with Kennebunk High School to become part of the state's virtual high school. This allows member schools to access on-line courses taught by teachers within the member community. Course listings can be quite extensive and not just limited to technology. We hope to have something in the works next year. Also please see your guidance counselor for details on specific Virtual Classes offered to students on an individual basis, throughout the State of Maine.  All High School juniors will have free access to PrepMe an online program for practicing strategies for taking the SAT. You will receive individual login and password information from your guidance counselor.

Laptops: Laptops will continue to be used at WJHS as part of the STATE MLTI, Maine Learning and Technology Initiative.  However, beginning next year, at WHS,  laptops for freshmen and sophomores will not be sent home on a daily basis. Students will be encouraged to purchase a USB flash Drive memory stick to transport information between home and school. Memory sticks with a 256mb memory and engraved with a Wells Warrior logo will be available for purchase in the office beginning in the fall through the Wells Boosters. Memory sticks also may be purchased elsewhere. The 256 mb will be   plenty for school purposes.

Tech staffing: There will be a changes in technology staffing in the district for next year. At WJHS Mr. Lindauer will split his time between a half time science position and half time technology integrator. Cheryl Oakes will add an additional day at WHS as technology integrator/collaborative content coach for technology, for a total of 2 days a week. Mr. Sprankle will continue as full time technology integrator at WES. Each school building will continue to have a full time computer technician to support our use of technology.

This summary was created by Marty Cryer and Cheryl Oakes and posted July 2007. Thanks Marty! The full technology plan update will be found at the district site or here at wocsdtechtalk.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Karl Fisch and his cadre of teachers

Constructivist Teaching with Technology: Learning with Laptops


Karl wrote up a proposal where staff meet once every 3rd week for a 3 hour block, during day, paid staff development- built in collaboration time, reflection and sharing.

Teachers need the passion.

First thing was to change the way the classroom looked. Changed the culture for students, tables, rolling chairs, and told the kids they were professionals and they had a job.

Second, changed the posters in the room. 21st century motivating.

Third, posted kids expectations in the class.

The first successes were noticed with teachers being engaged, during lunch, teachers talking about ideas, no complaining during lunch.Each teacher has a personal blog for reflection. Classes have their class blogs. Constructivist class practice. When Ann has a fishbowl in the class so students are participating, then the outside kids are blogging the proceeding.Skype is better than blogger for commenting on ideas.

Had conversations about what kinds of abilities the students should have by graduation. Businesses said teamwork was essential. When to be a leader, when to follow and how to collaborate. Collaboration is not the same as cooperative learning!

Podcasting is an incredible way to share what is happening, it is a window to the classroom. She had her students write essays for NPR, This I Believe. Success!

to be continued....

Some of the responses are not the best work, but there is a worldwide audience and it is emphasized to produce quality work.

Leaving time for conversation. Thanks to Karl and his team. Check it out!

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Sowing the Seed for a more creative society

Mitchel Resnick

Tag=n07s737 Blog Posts / Blog RSS / Flickr / Flickr RSS

Join me with a summary of this workshop.

Where do we do creativity right? Kindergarten, go Maria Knee,(who I happen to be sitting next to during this session) Kathy Shields and all the rest of you!

Kindergarten approach, explore, create, question. If you only have wooden blocks and paint from kindergarten to high school, we won't create and envision new things.

But rather let's work on more advance ideas with the kindergarten approach.
Look for technologies that are easy to get into yet have lots of diversity of projects, learning styles, and more complex things.

to be continued...

There is a new kit with legos and arts and craft stuff for building. Crickets.

the new materials for kids to build with are sensors and lights.

Scratch sosftware for kids to create online. Put together media to act and react

Demo of the software , awesome. Free download from ScratchMIT

Running out of battery, be back later!

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Daring Conversation: An Actor shares the voices of students

Very dynamic and engaging presentation using student blogs, statistics. Taking It Global Student Video Contest award winning videos.

Students are creating content, so they are learning.But how can you /we bring ideas into the classroom, how do they use technology in their lives, how can we use it in schools.


How can we use technology to connect souls and teach brains!

Daring to Converse with Natives in the Jungle


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Voices from the Past, session at NECC07

This session was a great demonstration of how a 3rd grade teacher used a blog, start to finish with her students to write, illustrate and provide audio about Harriet Tubman. You can see the website here.
Junior High
4th grade

The room was packed, the information was concise and well delivered.

Presentation by Herman Wood.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday NECC June 24 ready for the Keynote.

Well, this update will show that you too can live this conference virtually.

I spent last evening at the top of the Westin Hotel with a great group of bloggers. Photos will follow, Lisa! Vicki Davis surely had great southern hospitality and gave all the guest some peanut brittle, plus organized this wonderful dinner reservation.

We circled the city 3 times during dinner. It was an incredible dinner, view, and conversations. No we did not podcast!

Today was spent with the WOW 2 women went in different directions. Cheryl helped with the CRICK software booth and set up. It was amazing how an empty hall can be transformed into a huge and informative exhibit hall. Check out Brian Crosby's blog for the photographic transformation.

Vicki was preparing more for her presentations and more. Sharon was attending a workshop called Sidebar Envy , given by David Warlick. Jen went to Stone Mountain and spent the day with Discovery Educators.

We are waiting for the first keynote with Anderw Zolli. Look for the blogs with this tag, from David Warlick.

Well, this is Day 2 and the real conference is about to begin. People are recognizable by their lanyards and name tags. The badge of honor. I am seated at the Bloggers Cafe, great wireless and good folks all around.

Over and out.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Just got to Atlanta for NECC 2007!

Just arrived in the Peachtree city of Atlanta. I am at Edublogger Con having just met up with Vicki Davis and Sharon Peters. Waiting to meet Jen Wagner then the Women of Web 2.0 circle will be complete.

Just got to meet Julie Lindsay and Cheri Toledo too. Very fun to finally met people I've learned so much from through virtual blogs, wikis and chats. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Thanks for answering the WOCSD district survey!

Thanks for answering the WOCSD technology survey. This will allow us to have specific professional development options to support our staff. You can learn about these options through an email and by checking back to this site. Enjoy the journey, take one step at a time and check back for support.

This is a great ebook about Just in Time Professional Development.
Thanks to Jo Ann McDevitt for this great resource. This helps explain how we will provide support for professional development in technology.

Our district has a whole district/staff/student/community/Adult Ed subscription to Atomic Learning tutorials. You will receive information about this in an email or through classes. There are over 33,000 short tutorial movies that explain how to use different technologies and software.You can use the time you spend in Atomic Learning as documentation for your Personal Learning Plan for certification. This is a great way for you to have students learn how to use Keynote for your classes too.

Also another great resource is built in to your workstation or laptop. In each and every program you use on the top of your screen is a menu and HELP is usually the last menu item on the top right. When you select HELP you are able to search a huge table of contents for you problem. Once there you will find directions and screen shots about how two solve your problem or how to learn to use a new tool in your software. Try it right now in your browser and see what you have available to you!

Good luck! Watch for more announcements about learning new technology tools.

Thanks, Cheryl Oakes, Collaborative Content Coach for Technology

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kick back and make a plan! Win the Best Buy Award.

Take time this summer and think of a great technology winning idea. You could win 2,500.00 from Best Buy.Don't wait until Sept. 30, 2007, write it up during the summer and post it before August 30, 2007 our first workshop day.

Rewarding Schools for Making Learning Fun
At Best Buy we believe technology can excite and engage students, creating a more valuable educational experience. Through Best Buy Teach Awards we support schools� creative use of interactive technology to make learning fun.

Best Buy Teach Awards reward schools using interactive technology to make learning fun.

  • Over the past four years, more than 4,800 K-12 schools have received over $14 million in Best Buy Teach Awards.
  • Awards go to K-12 public, private and parochial schools using interactive technology in classrooms.
  • Schools must be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store to apply.
  • Educators must apply online between July 1 and September 30.
  • See examples of how teachers are using technology to make learning fun.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

What has the District Technology Committee been doing this school year?

You will see we are using technology. We podcasted our first meeting. The sound isn't that great, but you can hear most of the speaking. The minutes will be posted along with the link to the podcast.

Here is the link for the podcast of the May 31, 2007 meeting.

Here is a link to the Summary of the District Technology Committee

District Technology Committee Meeting May 31, 207

Members in attendance: Saul Lindauer, Jamie Cox, Mary Bouchard, John Bailey, Bob Gilpatric, Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oakes, Cheryl Mills, Marty Cryer


Celebrate the Technology improvements throughout the year.
     WHS, WJHS, WES,Adult Ed, Central office
Hear a short presentation about Moodle –

Bob G. and Cheryl presented a quick intro of Moodle for the group. We are waiting to hear if the per diem request was accepted for WHS. We will know by June 18, 2007. Moodle will be introduced throughout the district next fall in staff meetings, small group meetings and will be a requirement for teachers to have a presence on the Moodle.

See the Technology Checklist for WOCSD

·         The Checklist was sent out to the staff as an online survey. Next time the survey questions need to be tweaked so support staff can answer not applicable to the questions about Web2School, for example.

Update on staff development in the district

·          Waiting on the survey results and the district calendar.

Update on the collaboration with Kennebunk and Virtual High School

·          No word yet.

   Update on collaboration with Kennebunk/Wells and the summer staff development class.

There are 18 people signed up to take a summer technology class and there are 4 teachers from Kennebunk joining our staff.


Questions, comments, suggestions!


  • The Boosters are planning on selling USB memory sticks at WHS and WJSH next year. This will enable students to take their documents and presentations back and forth from home to school.
  • Take all the information from the Technology Committee this year and find another way to get it out to the community. I will work with Reg Bennett. The information is listed on the District page, the Wocsdtechtalk page and to the administrators.
  • A recommendation was made to have a page where the parents, students and community can find information about open source software which will enable students to use similar software at home as at school.

    This has been a rocking committee and I look forward to another year with this group.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Student and Teacher Survey for MLTI

Hello all,

Please have your 7th and 8th grade students fill out this survey.
Then please take time and fill out the survey for teachers. This information is being compiled for the MLTI project.
Student Survey:


Teacher Survey:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Literacy Strategies at the High School level

Here is a project that was developed in Maine for high school literacy. It is called the Region III Literacy Project.

This Literacy Project is part of the State Moodle were lots of great information is stored.

The purpose of the project grew out of a need for high school students to be reading at a Lexile level between 730-960, a college freshmen reading between 1100-1310, and a typical Lexile reading level for textbooks and manuals at the Technical Education Center between 1010-1210.

Once this purpose was defined Region III instructors began integrating literacy strategies into their lesson plans to ensure student comprehension of the required reading material. What are you using in your classroom to ensure student comprehension at the target Lexile standards?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Thanks to Target for their efforts in Education

I've been meaning to write this blog post for a month. Since we just are coming off a vacation I figured I better just do it!

Target, announced a "first of many thanks to teachers for this year!" Taget thinks that teachers should feel appreciated all year round. Here goes!

Here is an easy way for our schools to realize funds from Target. Through the Take Charge of Education Target donates up to 1% of every purchase you make on your REDcard to the eligible K-12 school of your choice. This is one way you can benefit our schools.

Target has made a site with downloadable materials for teachers and students where diversity is celebrated.

Next September 2007, teachers can apply for Field Trip Grants for trips in our local community. Check out this link for more details.

Finally a contest for students Redesign your school! This contest, for students grades 9-12, began in March 2007 and the submissions are due June 30, 2007.  Students can win scholarships, prizes and the opportunity for their ideas to influence future schools' designs.

Checkout these ideas, all it takes is a little time.

Over and out!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Juniors at Wells High logon to PrepMe

On April 12, 2007, all juniors in attendance at Wells High School were able to take part in an introduction to PrepMe. Here is the paragraph from's website from Feb. 1, 2007.

Today is a big day for both PrepMe and the State of Maine. We just announced that in conjunction with a philanthropist, we will be making $4.5 million per year in PrepMe test preparation available to Maine’s public high school juniors for the next three years. Maine took the bold step of replacing its state assessment test with the SAT because it believed that every student deserves to have access to a college education and with the partnership announced today, PrepMe hopes to play a substantial role in making college accessible to Maine’s students.

It is not often that a whole grade level in a state can take part of something so influential and important (besides the laptops). I was in the computer lab all day at WHS and explained a little bit about PrepMe, test taking strategies and how to take advantage of the services that PrepMe has offered. Ms. Jennifer Lacher-Starace and I worked with the staff and students to get them involved with this process. I have to say that the support that PrepMe has been comprehensive and very reactive. I've been able to communicate with their company with questions and support.

PrepMe is designed for students to take diagnostic tests and then have a series of practice sessions individualized for them in preparation for taking the SAT's May 5, 2007. Parents may also take part in this process by accessing their student's account and by observing the kinds of topics the students need to work on. Each student went home with a flyer about PrepMe and an email about the process. If you have any questions about this process visit PrepMe or ask you student or your student's English teacher or Ms. Lacher-Starace. You can always email coakes!
How could I forget the most important part? The students were very serious about this test. They liked getting their scores immediately, getting feedback on their answers and about knowing what they need to work on next. Thanks PrepME.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Online gaming in virtual worlds!

 Join the Women of Web 2.0 at 9 PM Tuesday as we discuss  many webtools. This week, April 10, we are discussing the following.

The Horizon Report 2007 states that virtual worlds are going to be a significant trend on college campuses in the next 1-5 years but there are some educators already doing it.

The Guests
Beth Ritter-Guth is a pioneer who is teaching literature in Second Life (SL). (Shakespeare in SL, to "prim or not to prim?")  She has taught me so much and is very patient!  We have a lot to learn from her.

Dr. Allan Webb is the founder of  and has an amazing story to tell about how a difficult book became very teachable in a 3D environment.

This is not technology focused as both of our interviewees are teaching literature!  It will be exciting!

We have agendas for these shows.  I'm going to share a pared down version with you:

If any of the following interests you come along tonight. If you can't make it you can listen to the podcasts which will be posted by Thursday at

WOW2 April 10, 2007 Agenda: The Potential for Virtual Worlds in Teaching

First 5 minutes - our WOW's of the week (where we share the coolest new stuff we've found!)

I. Guest Intro
(Brief bio, what doing now, and how they first got into virtual worlds and what they do now in virtual worlds.)

II. The current uses of virtual worlds in teaching
Observations from those who are doing it.
Dr. Webb -- How he first started literary worlds and the improvements he saw.
Beth - How she first started using second life and she you uses it in the classroom now.

III. Where do you see this going?
Beth - What do you think can be done in SL or other worlds that will help teaching? Are you seeing things happen in SL that will change things?
Dr. Webb - Where do you see sites like virtual worlds going in the future?
Beth's response

IV. Current Trends and Reports and your Reactions -
The Horizon Report 2007 listed virtual worlds and massive multiplayer gaming as becoming important parts of the college educational experience in the next 1-5 years? Do you agree with the time frame? Do you think college profs will agree or disagree with this?

A new report has emerged questioning the validity of software in helping achievement... do you think this has the potential to also stymie the growth of virtual worlds and give ammunition to the incredulous?

V. Safety
SL and Teenagers -- What can we do to safely use this tool. Beth, let's start with you, we want the audience to understand the issues about bringing K-12 into SL and the limitations.
Dr. Webb - are there safety issues in virtual worlds?

Over and Out! Cheryl

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Friday, March 30, 2007

There is no such thing as a free ride!

There is no such thing as a free ride. Nothing in life is free. Many of us have heard these sayings  before. Well then, what about Free Speech? This week in the blogosphere we have watched a conversation take place that demonstrates the human cost of free speech, the lasting impression of a few irresponsible words and images.
As 21st Century Citizens we have a responsibility to model responsible, respectful and ethical behavior while using the Internet.
Today and often,  be sure that you talk with your staff, students, parents and community about cost of Free Speech. Our words are powerful. We have a responsibility to use our words to promote our ideas and we have a responsibility to share this knowledge and model good behavior while using the Internet.

All of this conversation should center around how to stopcyberbullying. Today March 30, 2007 is Stop Cyberbullying Day. I expect  this really is the beginning of  stopcyberbullying,  a way of life. Free Speech?  Responsible, respectful and ethical speech.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Web 2.0, The Machine is Us/ing Us

When you view this, you will get a taste of how the web is changing. Think: how the learners are changing.
Think: how teachers should be changing.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Great links of this week!

If you are looking for ideas to promote learning about the Civil Rights Movement, please check out this site.

Have you been looking for a collaborative calendar? Here is a free online calendar for organizations that will streamline the scheduling and communications process for your members!

Marco Polo, a standards based curriulum web site for teachers has merged with Verizon Literacy Network. With those two powerhouses, you can't go wrong. Check it out if you are looking for  lessons plans, interactive student activities across seven disciplines.

The US Department of Education has unveiled their newly remodeled versions of Federal Resources for Education.

Last but not least! Check out the ALA podcasts, listen to library related news at

Read my latest blog at it is all about Daylight Savings Time and the web.

Over and OUT,Cheryl

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SMARTboards and differentiation

Joe Scrivens presented about how he used Notebook to differentiate lessons for multi levels of ability in the classroom.Notebook also allows for different learning styles, the cloner for example lets you build words from parts. All the learning styles can be built into the lesson. By using colors to jazz up the bullets, it may make it easier for some students to read and remember. Now we have time to build our own lessons in Notebook.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A great time at SMARTboard Training, Wocester 2/2007

Thanks to Pamela for sharing these great photos!

This album is powered by BubbleShare - Add to my blog

Day 2 of SMARTboard training in Worcester MA

John Blaser from Eastchester, NY, presented his rollout and training of staff in his school system. Critical Factors for Integrating SMARTboards into Classrooms, Schools and Districts. His district has 2800 students and has integrated SMARTboards , 125, into their classrooms for the past 2.5 years.There are still more SMARTboards to add to the district. As part of John's presentation he interviewed many teachers(40), administrators(8), and many email anecdotes. He asked 2 questions:

What was necessary or what contributed to the successful integration of SMARTboards into your classroom, school or district?

What are the benefits of integrating SMARTboards into your classroom, school or district?

Critical factors from the interviews:school committee support, support of administrators,training during the school day, must have substitutes, train right in the classrooms PROFESSIONAL development is KEY, will make or break how it is used in the classroom, trained by teachers and technology integration specialists

Implementation: Deployment and Configuration-

Integration Plan, Professional Development Model- teacher training in the building and knowing the people in the building to go to for support. Classes for inservice credit. Informal training in small groups at a grade level. Start with small goals and small implementation plans. Provide options for training, one size does not fit all.

Administrative Support-need to understand the enormity of the SMARTboards

Professional Development-key

Time Interest and Dedication-Allow teachers time during day, course work, afterschool all good options.It will take about a year to get the SMARTboard integrated into the teachers day.

Go to for some of John's resources. 2/27/07 -823

Stephanie Carson, a product developer for SMART presented the newitems that are coming out. The Notebook is the mainstay of the productdevelopment.

Bridgit enables multiple users to connect easily and share real-timevoice, video and data with out making reservations, installing softwareon the desktop or uploading preesntation materials in advance. It alsouses VoIP. Allows the user to hand over the desktop and you canannnotate over the screen.*

SynchronEyes is a classroom management software.

SmartIdeas the concept mapping software. It is complimentary with the board.

The SMARTboard 600 series needs a seperate projector and has theability to move up and down. USB audio, wireless bluetooth, gowire.

The 600i series has an arm that projects 3.5 feet, which is theprojector. Purchase all through SMART. You can also run without acomputer. You can use a USB key to run your program. People can do theinstall on their own.

The Airliner wireless slate allows the teacher to teach from aroundthe room as well as having students participate using the board.

The Senteo Interactive response system.You can use for quizzes on the fly and immediate graphs are ready to use.

Sypodium is a product that allows inteactivity on a huge screen, not an interactive white board.

SMART is committed to education by providing professional development and unlimited support.

Many training opportunities are available at the SMARTTECH site.

SychronEyes- is a classroom management system great for labs, orgroups of laptop classrooms. You can push out files, so you can get theurl page all on the student computers.Windows compatible.

SmartIdeas concept mapping software. It is very intuitive and agreat resource. It is great for visual learners. It has great levelsand links well with Notebook. There are lesson plans already made onthe website.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Part 2 of the SMARTboard workshop

Robert shared this great source for all subject areas for high school teachers and students.
Gillyon, science teacher in NB, demonstrated how to use the virtual cell URL on the SMARTboard. Spyguys for math, geared for 6th graders, james bond theme and also had good review for gr. 7 and gr. 8
Optic microscope primer is a peer reviewed multimedia site good for high school, all subject areas.

Jen ,
Northbridge High School, uses the SMARTboard, links the video clip from United Streaming right in her presentation for her Geometry lesson.She downloads the attachment of the video file and links right into the notebook and it plays really quickly.
Jen,from Cavendish School, Grade 4, VT. She created a game using the duplicator function, students come up to the board and create words, there are clues available for students. She has 12 students in her class and after presenting to her school board, they are purchasing more for their schools. She shared a lesson on drawing a plant and labeling the plant. The URL for the main page is from the Birmingham Schools, there are plenty of other great resources too.

Euart, from Plymouth, MA. He is a technology coordinator at the K-8 schools. He uses BrainPop, BrainPop Jr. and with his SMARTboards. The lesson he used was about using Capital Letters. Len, adds the standards to the lesson. He copied the buttons as links for his teachers to use. Brainpop Jr. has the ability to read the text to students. Then there is a built in game with practice/assessment of the skill.
Gary, from
Hebron CT, teaches 7th and 8th grade science. He has created notetaking worksheets for his students, students add the information. He has a way to check the answer. Then students write their assignments in their agendas. He uses the SMARTboard for labeling the parts of the heart.
Pam, middle school language arts, New Brunswick, CA. She has a
SMARTboard in her room, the computer lab and one portable one. The district has just purchased 80 more. 70-80% of SMARTboard use is with Interactive software or websites. Once teachers have seen the benefits of the SMARTboards they are engaged and motivated. Pam uses the links to online movies for the lesson introduction. Then students come to the board and put objects in correct categories. Her students love the Mission to Mars interactive site from the NASA website. Students have 10 minutes as a team to make decisions about their trip to Mars. Now that her teachers have seen the motivation of the SMARTboard software they are excited to do more. Her 7th grade students all have laptops, housed at school.

Wendy,gets to share resources with all of us. She demonstrated the Jeopardy game with the interactive graph and all the notebook resources.We used the
Inkaware insert text into Excel! or insert text as Graphic for signature.

Rachel, a
SMARTboard educator, from NYC shared how to get scanned images into notebook.If you already have images on your computer, to move things into the notebook software, then look for insert, find your already saved images and it moves it to the software. She showed how to use the view option and split the screen.

SMARTboard Workshop, Worcester, MA

I was invited to attend this New England workshop with area SMARTboard educators. This is a sharing opportunity for area educators and by blogging about what I am learning, I am able to bring you along on this workshop.

Check out this site first.

There are more than 450,000 whiteboards in classrooms. 15 million students using the technology.

There is a great contingent from New Brunswick, CA presenting their best practices. Allan, teaches at Blackville High School, Blackville, NB, Grade 10 and 12 English, history and media studies.

He demonstrated his Jeopardy Ancient Rome game prior to testing to help with recall. He used the powerpoint jeopardy template and then linked the blocks to the different pages. The linking capability was critical.There is also a timer included on each page.

Shaun, from Blackstone Valley Tech School in Upton, MA presented his website. He has included all his worksheets on his site which he is able to use also as an interactive worksheet on the SMART board, file print, one option is smartnotebook print capture, (the smart notebook has to be open). This option is available with anything you have on the screen, it captures it to the notebook and creates a great print option.(This is a by-pass of the scanning process.) It actually prints into the notebook in better fashion then a scanner, YOU can not manipulate the items in the document, it is a graphic object. The camera feature allows you to take a picture of a piece of the page and put it in your SMART notebook.

Shaun talked about how his class notes are available for students who need assistance, he makes this available for all students as part of his website.

Cheryl spoke of how Wells Junior High School has deployed 30 SMARTboards as part of a renovation project.

Derrick, from Fredericton, New Brunswick, CA , District Office 18, is a math mentor and works with teachers in his district. Using the notebook for his lesson, he demonstrated that the URL's are interactive, he inserted the graphs that students worked on in class.He showed how a lesson for making a cube demonstration, for visually impaired it is easy to zoom in and enlarge the page.

Eithne, from Blackstone Valley Tech School in Upton, MA, where her school has 1100 students a 13 town district, as part of their renovation they have 84 SMARTboards in their school and are working with a range of expertise with staff.She is demonstrating the new version of Notebook 9.5 and is relaunching her training. She used the notebook software to create the training materials. How to take their materials and print and add to their notebook. Eithne took her materials and integrated them into a SMART notebook file, with page numbers a customized training manual. She included the URL link to Atomic Learning so it is a comprehensive package for teachers to go back to. It has a whole section of 3 min. movie clips on how to use Notebook

Elizabeth, from Burnt Church School. New Brunswick, they started with one portable SMARTboard and now all classes have one. Her students are using Notebook for their presentations. The students created their project about how to market something using digital photos and the notebook and how to use notebook as a presentation.

Gail, from Bathurst New Brunswick, she models lessons for teachers in math. She created her training lessons with Notebook. There are over 100 SMARTboards in her schools. So, she has organized her her lessons by grade level and topics.It takes about one hour to prepare a lesson.the WOW was the URL

Gail also shared a site where you can get free clipart. Animated objects

Once there search for a particular topic and you with then just copy the image, and then go to the notebook and paste onto the page.

Robert share a place for public domain source for images.

All this happened during our first session for the morning.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blizzard of 2007!

We are in the midst of the Blizzard of 2007! While the snow is falling, the winds are blowing and temperatures are in the teens, with below zero wind chills, we can all be quite comfortable in our homes while reaching out on the Internet. I can check the weather in Tampa where my mother is at 46 degrees F, the weather in Montreal at 9 degrees F and snowing, and keep tabs on what is happening in Maine. You can imagine that I am also checking the snow amounts at Sugarloaf where at 4 PM they measured 17 inches. All this to say, that although we had a "snow day" today, many of us were still able to work and research thanks to the Internet we have in our homes.

I am working on compiling data from the NetDay 2006 survey. Thanks to all who took time to fill out the survey. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results. I know I am very pleased. The survey gives us a direction for our technology vision.
Cheryl Oakes, Valentine's Day in a blizzard!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

January News in WOCSD

Filters in WOCSD

To comply with Federal NCLB law the district uses the state issued filter called Bess. This filter is updated weekly so you may find things you normally accessed not available. The State of Maine controls the filter and I apply exceptions for our schools. Please email if you need access to a website for you or your students. I can usually open the site within 10 minutes. However a day’s notice by email is best. I’ve closed Internet Radio in order to free up bandwidth. After 2--3 PM the sites open up.

Ways to Learn more about Technology, when you want!

If you are looking for new ways to learn more about technology please check out these 2 online workshop offerings.
Both of these conferences are FREE. It might work for yo u if you have some kind of technology goal in your professional plan.
University of Berkley makes 50 courses available for your iPOD. Free courses, college level. Good for you or your students.

Research Time
You can check out the Portaportal page I created and the guest login is  internetresearch
You will find some great links about using the Internet to Research.
Another great spot to begin research is with the State of Maine MARVEL, virtual library and databases. There is a FREE workshop at the public library Jan. 22, 2007.

Looking to get a question answered about a particular piece of software? Check out Atomic They have free online movies. It may be a movie you need to answer that question! If you really like this site let me know and it may be time for our district to get some accounts!

Web2School in WOCSD
This school year has seen many challenges for the district and the partnership with Web2school.
In each building 1 secretary is in charge of adding new teacher and assigning new permissions. Each staff member needs to update the web client when prompted. Parent information( user names and passwords) will be handled by the building secretary. The computer technicians will be responsible for ensuring the daily connections are working for all staff.
Web2School has volunteered to work with a committee on revising the mid-trimester progress report so that it prints out in a more professional way. See your building principal if you are interested in working on this committee. The committee should only need 3 meetings. FMI email

Web2School for Parents
If you hear from a parent that they are having
trouble logging into their Web2School please
let me know. I’ve worked with several people to get them in their accounts.

There are  83 staff members with Homeworknow accounts.
There are 6 parents signed up for emergency alerts from the schools.
Did you know you can check your pages to see how many people have visited  your site since you began?The District Technology Committee
made up of school and community members recommends using K-12!

Thanks for using this site How many visitors have you had?

Thanks for visiting and reading this newsletter. Leave a comment!

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

New 5th/6th Grade blogging activity group at WJHS

On Tuesday (January 9, 2007) I'll be starting a blogging group with 5th and 6th graders at Wells Junior High School. The purpose is to share Internet Online safety and netiquette rules. Our first charge will be to review online safety and create a collaborative wikispace on Internet Safety. You can watch as this site grows. Students must have parent permission before they create their own blog. However, they will be able to add to the collaborative wikisspace we are using for our webpage.

In order to watch this site grow you can subscribe to the RSS feed. You must have a blog aggregator. This is a way of collecting the blogs or news you want to keep track of. A popular blog aggregator is Bloglines. The RSS feed for this new site is ( By adding this feed to your aggregator you can see each new upgrade. Watch this student site grow.

Another place to watch this grow is by clicking on the link from the Wells Junior High district page.

Wells Junior High Internet Safety

Any comments or questions please email coakesATwocsddotorg

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Tagged and I am It! 2007

Apparently, a game of tag is currently going on in the blogosphere - and I have been caught! In a better attempt for you to get to know me better I'm to "reveal" five things about myself that you otherwise wouldn't know from reading this blog.  Here goes:

Sharon Peters, a Women of WEB 2.0 tagged me while I was still at the mountain house. She even had to give me a hint I'd been tagged!

According to the rules, I am now supposed to share 5 things you may not know about me. And then, I am supposed to tag 5 other bloggers.

1. I am a downhill winter skier. Last year I was able to ski 80 days during our winter. My goal someday is to ski the winter season around the planet! During the winters in Maine I ski Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley.

2. I am going to present at NECC for the first time in June 2007 in Atlanta, GA. If you are there I hope to meet up with you! Look for our session as Women of Web 2.0. Okay, many of you did not know I belong to the Women of Web 2.0 well, the secret life of Cheryl Oakes. As part of Women of Web 2.0 and Webcast Academy, I co-host a weekly Internet Radio show , called a webcast, at Tuesdays at 9 PM EST also known as Wednesdays 2 AM GMT.

3. I love to spend time outside in the summer either in my kayak along the coast of Maine or in the community garden.  Part of my outside summer activities include raising 3 pigs for our dinner table.

4. When I began my career in education in 1974 I was a kindergarten long term substitute, then I worked in the field of Special Education, got my Masters in Special Education from the University of Maine in 1977 a field I stayed with until 1992. Then I migrated to the field of technology integration at  Wells Elementary School.

5. When I was working summer jobs I landed a great job as a cook at The Teashop at Squirrel Island Maine.

Tag you are it! Maria Knee, Leah Tondreau, Bob Sprankle, Ryan Palmer and Sharon Betts!

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