Monday, January 27, 2014

First Exeter 'Appy Hour'

I hosted the first 'Appy Hour' for teachers in my District today at a local coffee shop. The District is piloting iPads in a few classrooms this year so today a few of the teachers joined me for an hour of sharing what is working and what is not.

One of my favorite new apps that I shared today was "AppsGoneFree" by This app is a great way to find apps without paying a dime. Or using a teachers favorite F word - you can get apps for FREE by using this app. You can read information about the apps online at

Board Cam was shared by one of the other teachers present as her favorite app for using the iPad as a document camera. Read more and check out the app in iTunes

The group also checked out my new stand that I'm using in my classroom for my iPad. I have the Justand V2. You can check out all the details on the Justand V2 at
I love how this stand is easily portable from classroom to classroom. You can also plug your iPad into the stand for charging when using all day.

We talked about how trying the lite version of apps to try about a new app is fine but if you find it to be a useful app in the classroom then paying for the full version to get ride of ads with worth the money.

Another point brought up by the group was how if you have an app on your device for more than two months and you find you are not using it then delete it off the device because it is not worth keeping. Also keeping apps organized on your device was also brought up as an important thing to do.

It was a great time of sharing and we will be getting together again for another 'Appy Hour'

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teacher Driven Change

This past weekend I attend California Teacher Associations Good Teaching Conference North in San Jose with fellow teachers from my school. As the association President I encouraged teachers to attend the conference as our association dues helps pay for these conferences.

Click on the picture above to go to the conference website to see a full list of workshops

You go to conferences like this and there is so much information thrown at you in a very short amount of time that it can be very overwhelming.How do you pick which session to attend, which vendors you spend time talking to, what do you spend money purchasing or do you even purchase anything, do you hang out with just your fellow teachers you came with or hang out with new friends you meet?

As the local President and a returning GTC attendee I felt it was important to give new teachers attending some direction on what to do, while still giving them freedom to make choices. One of the best things we did all weekend was to go out to dinner together on Saturday night. We shared about what sessions we had all attended during the day, what we had learned and thought we could take back and implement in the classroom. Then we talked about how the year has been going and got very real with each other the good and the bad.

Saturday started with the Uncluttered Teacher Tammy Duggan. Tammy did a bonus session on how to unclutter your classroom and your life. This is something I need help with and I did purchase Tammy's book "The Un-cluttered Teacher". On Monday the first day back at school I asked my principal about an idea I had to get backpacks up off the floor and out of the way. She said let's go for it and gave the maintenance department permission to put up hooks on the wall in the computer lab. So today we did a trial run with six hooks.

Several of the other teachers that went have also start putting in place small changes. We brought back some new material that will make better at our craft which we can share with our fellow teachers. Teacher driven change.. When given freedom to grow and learn we will thrive. We want what is best for our school. We want what is best for our students.

Come and join us for our first 'Appy Hour' (Thanks Kathleen and Chris for the title) on January 27 at Cappella's - I picked up a few new awesome apps this weekend!

Up next for me - I read the book - "Teach Like A Pirate" now I will see the head pirate himself Dave Burgess in Oakhurst

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Road to 1:1

The long and winding road...



And so the journey begins towards making advancements in educational technology in the school District where I currently teach. Change can be a painful process. When you are looking at spending a large amount of money you never want to jump into anything to fast but when the world is passing you by you also don't want to move to slow either. Finding the right balance is often a hard thing to do.

First big question was do we really go 1:1 or can you have a class set of devices for every two classes to share. My view was that at the very least by middle school you must be 1:1. If we are looking at textbooks being electronic then there is no question we have to be 1:1 with students taking the devices home. Which now leads to the question of what device do you purchase?

So the debate begins - will it be iPads - or maybe iPad minis, how about Chromebooks, what about laptops? There is a pause in the conversation. We move on to something else.

I make the mistake of saying what about something like the HP device that works as both a tablet and a laptop. The tech next to me says yeah the um hybrids. We can't think of exactly what they are called at the moment (Slates) and someone pipes up your wasting time.........

Yep it is going to be a long and winding road......