School-Wide Implementation of Evernote

Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web. Evernote is a great tool for teachers and students to capture notes, save research, collaborate on projects, snap photos of whiteboards, record audio and more. Everything you add to your account is automatically synced and made available on all the computers, phones and tablets you use.

The Montclair Kimberly Academy, a K-12 school in Montclair NJ, has deployed Evernote to all student laptops. Here’s their story.

Learn more in this interview as Bill Stites, Director of Technology at the Montclair Kimberley Academy, describes the school’s Evernote deployment.

Evernote Premium For Schools offers all the features, services and benefits, bundled together for your school at a discounted rate. Perfect for groups of teachers, classrooms, whole schools or entire districts. Evernote Premium For Schools is available at a 50% discount off of individually purchased premium accounts.

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Free Apps: Everyday Math

The McGraw-Hill School Education Group has made all of their Everyday Mathematics apps available for FREE during the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Conference. The apps are available in iPod Touch/iPhone and iPad versions. Students often find these drill and practice educational games to be engaging for long stretches of time. The NCTM Conference begins April 13th and concludes on April 16th, so be sure to download your free copies of these apps by the end of Saturday.

Addition Top It Beat the Computer Multiplication
Tric-Trac Equivalent Fractions
Subtraction Top-It Divisibility Dash
Baseball Multiplication (1-6 Facts) Name That Number


Hat tip to Karyn Keenan and Cindy Brock for bringing this to my attention.

1 Thing Teachers Should Know about Teaching with Technology

Scott Rodgers

Part of the ongoing 1 Thing series.

When teachers start teaching with technology (and I do mean really teaching with technology), the first thing they better do is to “strap up their seatbelts and pull it tight”, because they are getting ready to go on the ride of their lives. Teaching with technology is a ride. You will find yourself trudging up the hill at times thinking you will never get to the top, yet at other times you will be flying down the hill wondering when you are ever going to reach the bottom.

buckleupApproximately 14 years ago, I along with several other science and math teachers from area schools took part in a 1 year workshop that met for 4 weeks over 2 summers and then once per month or so during school talking exclusively about technology in the classroom. The workshop entitled “Tech Tools” provided a launching pad for my use of technology in my Physical Science and Physics classroom. It especially introduced me to the use of Vernier technologies in the classroom. Upon completion of the workshop, I returned to school determined to figure out a way to put Vernier probeware to use in my classroom. With the help of the greatest technology director in the world, I received a $100,000 grant to buy probeware, computers, calculators, etc. Our science department went from having nothing to having what I firmly believed the best science lab in the area. I thought I was the technology guru!!! Not hardly. I did become a self-taught expert with Vernier equipment, but that is only where my ride began.

My students were exposed to excellent lab situations. I set up many of my labs as inquiry labs before Inquiry-Based Learning became “the thing.” I thought so anyway. The labs were always set up so as to have a “guide to the right answer.” I have since come to realize that true inquiry will result in a lot of wrong answers and that students learn as much from wrong answers as they do from right answers. With End of Course tests, I always argued that we just do not have time for wrong answers. Although it is a somewhat valid argument, I have done a much better job of letting my students get wrong answers as long as they are learning from them.

For my entire teaching career, if my students weren’t in the middle of a lab, they were in their seats and I was at my overhead projector. I loved lecturing and actually still do. I would walk around the room occasionally, but for the most part I could be found at the front of the room with my students staring at me as we went through a lesson. Last year to aid in classroom management, I along with the other physical science teachers bought a wireless mouse for our laptops, created PowerPoint lessons for every lesson we had and became “walk around the classroom lecturers.” Because our PowerPoints were self-made and pretty funny at times, our students enjoyed them, but still found themselves in their seats in a very static classroom.

Summer 2008 came along and after all those years of thinking I was a technology guru, I was treated to a week of Impact Training (named so because of a large technology grant our school system received). I finally got to tighten my seatbelt as I was about to spend a week with a group of educators who knew more about technology that I could ever imagine. We learned about podcasting. We learned about PowerPoint games (test reviews will never be the same again). We learned about Qwizdom (handheld response systems which can be used in conjunction with PowerPoints or used with their own software). We learned about Webquests (what a remarkable idea, students using the internet for learning while in the classroom). We learned that there was more than one type of multimedia presentation students could use to present research: Glogster, MovieMaker, and Audacity just to name a few. At first glance, it may seem like teaching would be easier when you are not standing up front at all times, but this semester has probably been one of the hardest of my career.

This semester has also been one of the most rewarding. My students are having fun. They enjoy class more than ever. There are still times they find themselves in their seats listening to me talk, but it will never again be a 1 ½ hour lecture. We break up lessons with Qwizdoms. We stop and look at different situations on the Internet. We work on multimedia presentations. We work on Gizmos from As a teacher, you will not find yourself at your desk. You will be all over the place helping students, pointing students in the right direction, getting them back on task, etc. What a pleasure when you see a student finally ”get” a concept on their own and want to share that knowledge with the person sitting next to them.

Probably one of the greatest challenges, but also one of the most gratifying challenges is the ability to collaborate with other disciplines within the school. I spent 3 weeks working with an Advanced Functioning and Modeling math class studying roller coasters. It was an extremely tough 3 weeks, but quite possibly the most worthwhile 3 weeks of my entire teaching career. Our classes learned every possible physics concept as they applied to roller coasters on their own and applied those concepts as they built their own roller coaster with Legos. The students were able to Model data they gathered as a part of the math curriculum. I would never have dreamed this big 6 months ago. Before it was all said and done, our classes had completed a Roller Coaster Webquest designed by the math teacher and myself, they had gathered data using Vernier LabQuests, they modeled the data graphically, they built roller coasters they designed on their own with very little parameters, they created videos of their design/build and posted them to the school website and learned a lot about team work and thinking on their own along the way. What I discovered during this 3 week lesson was that using real technologies in the classroom takes much more work up front. I would hate to guess the number of hours put in prepping this lesson, but as I discovered it was time well spent. The lesson is still on my computer. I am ready to tweak the lesson and use it again next semester.

Teaching with technology is hard. It is hard on the teacher for all the reasons people throw out there for not wanting to do it. It doesn’t always work as planned. There will be times your lesson will not work at all. The Internet will go down at times. The students will try and check their personal email during class time. With only 2 years to go before retirement, why should I learn something brand new? I will tell you why, because our students deserve it!!! 21st Century Skills require the use of technology for a reason. It is not the way of the future; it is the way of the present. Using technology in the correct manner will add to your teaching and will also improve your students learning!!!!

So strap up and get ready for the ride of your teaching career, regardless of how far along you already are on your particular ride.

See Scott’s Biotechnology Webquest

About the Author
Scott Rodgers has been teaching and A. L. Brown High School for 18 years. He is the co-share of the science department and currently teaches physics, physical science and project-based science. Scott is the proud father of 4 children who love teaching him about new technologies.

Suggested Mac Software

(Cross-posted from BILD Institute)

Several of you are new Mac users and have asked me to suggest software that can be used on the Mac operating system. Here are some of my favorites followed by resources that I strongly recommend you look through.

Firefox browser – Safari is a nice browser and has its strengths, but I greatly value the ability to customize and extend Firefox through the use of downloadable extensions, add-ons, themes, etc.

Adium – Use all of you different instant messaging services (AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, and more…except Skype) in tool.

Skype – Free video conferencing. Oovoo is good, too.

Tweetdeck – I appreciate being able to use multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook all in one place. It’s also helpful that it syncs with iPhone.

Skitch – Fast and fun image editing and sharing.

Comic Life – Software for creating and sharing comics and artwork.

Cyberduck – Nice software for those that FTP.

Additional Resources

5 Apps to Get More out of Your NEW Mac

Must-Have Mac Software

20 Websites Every Mac Fan Must Bookmark

30 Must-Have Tweaks for Your Mac

Microsoft Downloads for Mac

Windows Media Player for Mac

Free Inspiration Webcast

(NOTE: I received this announcement via email from Inspiration.)

Webcast: Using Visual Learning Techniques to Improve Academic Performance with Inspiration®
Date: Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Time: 12:00-12:45 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00-3:45 p.m. Eastern Time
Register for this event today!

Inspiration® helps students develop ideas, analyze concepts and improve organizational skills. Join us on January 29th to explore templates and examples that will help your students improve academic performance in Science, Language Arts and Social Studies. Cathy Cuff, our Education Development Manager for Science, will host a complimentary 45-minute webcast demonstrating how you can use Inspiration 8 to:

  • Expand on ideas to create well-supported thinking and conclusions
  • Build knowledge by increasing comprehension of new concepts
  • Increase organizational skills by connecting ideas into a logical hierarchy

Join us for this professional development webcast!

If you are unable to join us, don’t worry – the webcast will be archived and available to you shortly after the event concludes.

View our archived webcasts!

Teaching Keyboarding to Elementary Children

I posed the following question to the members of my personal learning network (PLN).

Advice Requested

I received lots of good advice and suggested resources. I wanted to share the information hoping that others would find it helpful, too.

Here are the responses from my Plurk buddies

Typing Advice from Plurk Buddies 01

Typing Advice from Plurk Buddies 02

…and these are the replies from my Twitter friends.

Typing Advice from Tweet Friends 02

Typing Advice from Tweet Friends 01

Please Share
I invite you to please share your ideas, teaching strategies and resources, too. You can post a text, audio or video reply in the comments to this post or you can send me a message via Plurk and Twitter.

Together we all learn more.

Webcast: Writing to a Prompt with Kidspiration

(NOTE: I received this announcement via email from Inspiration.)


Graphic organizers are an effective tool to support students as they learn how to write to a prompt. Join us on January 15th to see how your students can learn to write on demand using Kidspiration®. Lucy Belgum, our Education Development Manager for Language Arts, will host a complimentary 45-minute webcast demonstrating how to:

  • Use visual techniques to plan writing that is mindful of audience, purpose and form
  • Engage students in the process of writing paragraphs that contain supporting details
  • Target, plan and write to the components found within the various modes of writing using graphic organizers

Date: Thursday, January 15, 2008
Time: 12:00-12:45 p.m. Pacific Time, 3:00-3:45 p.m. Eastern Time

Register Today!

If you are unable to join us, don’t worry – the webcast will be archived and available to you shortly after the event concludes.

View our archived webcasts!

NECC This Afternoon

Here are the presentations/discussions that I attended/ participated in during the first half of this afternoon.

A Plan for Wiki Adoption by Ken Pruitt
Ken’s presentation was an adaptation of Stewart Mader’s Wikipatterns. Ken shared suggested strategies for implementing the use of wikis at all levels.

Educational Technology and the Law facilitated by Jon Becker and Scott McLeod
While preparing for the Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0 seminar I’ve realized how important it is that I become more knowledgeable about copyright, intellectual property, plagiarism, and related topics. I especially liked how they were able to pose existing IRL analogies for the virtual situations under discussion.

I’m off to the the much anticipated (at least by me) poster presentation of the ISTE Classroom Observation Tool. I plan to share what I learn soon.