Category Archives: updates

Snow Days and Updates

Since we have returned from Winter break, we have had a snow day every week! It is difficult to get into a rhythm. The snow is piling up outside on the streets of Boston  but we are cozy and safe here at the Renaissance School.

There is SO very much going on! We are preparing for the first ever STEM Fair on June 9 – a day to celebrate the integration of technology into Science, Social Studies, and Specialty classes, Ela and Engineering, and Math. Every class will participate by showcasing a project that integrates the “T” for technology into a core subject area. We will have a school-wide celebration for our students, staff, their families and guests! It will be a wonderful day to show each other and our community members and partners how we have been learning with technology. We have ipod, ipad, and macbook mobile labs. We have Audio/Visual systems in the classrooms. We have a Kinder Robotics program, a CSI Team, and a Green Screen Radio News Show…and more! I hope everyone enjoys their chance to shine on June 9!

I am also participating in a research project for the EDC http://cse.edc.org/  to help evaluate the use of Scratch in lessons to develop computational thinking among youth. My TechSperts will be creating Internet Safety games using Scratch, and their reflections as well as mine throughout the project will be posted here. So look for the “scratch” tag and follow our project…!

Spring cleaning

I have been in deep in a (slow) transition of my home computer to a Macbook, and of my TV to Apple TV with Time Capsule, so I have felt very out of sync with my media, including with this blog. I had my work flow down between my phone, my camera, Flickr, this blog, iTunes, my ipod…and now its still a bit questionable. But I am getting there. I really like having my music and movies accessible by my TV or computer at any time, and with AirTunes, I can play it all on my computer’s speakers and/or the TV wirelessly. Time Capsule is a whole 1TB of storage space and a much faster router for the wireless connection I need to stream all of this around the house. BUT, I haven’t quite got the syncing with my computer’s iTunes down, so I find myself double checking where my files are when I download them. I have a list of things still to do, like a spring cleaning, but it is a beautiful day today in Boston that really should be appreciated since we were flooded (in some places, quite literally) with rain for three days last weekend!

Graduation Day

Speaking of graduations…I forgot to blog about my very own! The never-ending story of the Thesis has finally come to an end! From March until mid May I was intensely writing the paper with the assistance of my two AMAZING advisors, Dr. Diane Tabor and Dr. Betsy Grady. I most definitely would not have been able to even imagine the finish line without these two mentors. Although at times the stress of daily writing and analysis had me seeing double through tears of fatigue, I really did enjoy the overall writing process. I enjoy writing, but collaborating with such experienced writers and researchers as my advisors clearly eased the pain. So I started with 17 pages and not enough data in March, and ended up with 150+ pages and rich data that revealed significant and relevant findings entitled “Making Media and Making Citizens.” I ended up winning the Dean’s Thesis Prize for Most Outstanding Thesis, and graduated June 11 with the Masters in Liberal Arts Education Technologies program from the Harvard Extension School. I was asked to present my topic at the Thesis forum – it was actually quite challenging to take it from paper to powerpoint!

Graduation Day was a wonderful experience. Although I had to get up “wicked” early to attend the all schools ceremony in Harvard Yard, I am glad I witnessed it. The long list of honorary degrees were “impressive” to say the least. The skies opened up in time for the smaller program ceremony afterwards in which we received our diplomas and prizes. I finished the day off with my family at dinner by the Harbor at the Daily Catch, low-key and delicious!

I am so relieved that it is done and over with, and very proud to have finished so strongly. The question posed to me already is…what’s next? I say: the beach!

I will post the abstract here from home…soon.

Spring cleaning in November

aaaahhh that feels better. I finally got onto deicious and cleared out my sidebar by moving my bookmarks into my delicious account and next i need to merge them with my igoogle bookmarks. im hoping this allows me to share my favs and find others who share my interests and know more useful sites. plus it de-clogs my sidebar and allows my bookmarks to be mobile. i feel lighter!

The update of my sidebar includes :

My Blogs : my list of blogs that i have authored or co-authored. The blog roll includes the Facing History summer civic video project blog, the 12th grade Facing History Europe Trip mobile blog, the 11th grade Media Literacy Seminar collaborative class blog and its companion lesson-planning blog.

My Communities : the social networks and groups that I am a member of.

My Global Classrooms : the classrooms/schools around the world that I have built connections with. I hope to add many more!

My Links : a link to my delicious account.

My Feeds : a link to my public Bloglines account.

We are creatures of schema and so I would love to stay up longer and keep organizing and adding to and merging my data BUT I haven’t been feeling well and probably should have been in bed 2 hours ago. This is what a Conference does to you – it gets the old ideas whirring again in your head, puts the new ones at your fingertips – just ONE more key stroke and then I’ll go to bed! – and revitalizes your passion for your job. Doesn’t even sound right to call it a “job” – more like a “privilege” – but then again, I’m glad (at least my sniffles are) that tomorrow is Friday.

August and everything after

WOW. And I call myself a blogger? Really? Shame shame.

So my last post was back in May, and a LOT has happened since then! Not only was June spent wrapping up another wonderful school year at TechBoston Academy, but the summer was spent making some big personal and professional changes! I went on vacation in July (so you probably only saw me on Facebook then!), and moved and changed jobs in August…and returned my 2 laptops (sigh!) to BPS in September. So I hope you can forgive me…but yeah yeah I know, I couldve just mobile blogged. ( ;

Ill make the long story super short and far less personal than the decision-making process actually was, but I left the Boston Public School system and packed up my 7 years of teaching at TechBoston to become the Director of Instructional Technology at the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School…sort of. I mean once you have committed yourself to public education, the friends you make, the students you teach (I remember my first class!), the lessons you learn, the mistakes you make…they go everywhere with you. I am so very grateful to TechBoston for every one of these experiences. I am very excited to move forward and learn new things and apply my experiences to my new role here.

BRCPS is an amaaaazing place! I have spent most of my first 2 months here listening, observing, troubleshooting, putting the already successful tech programs in place, and asking LOTS of questions (maybe too many??). Everyone here has been welcoming and informative and understanding and – most excitingly – curious about and supportive of educational technology. BRCPS boasts 3 computer labs, 2 mobile labs, and an assortment of A/V equipment, software, and accessories to integrate into the classroom and administration here in an effort to meet our assessment goals and curriculum standards. My goal is to look at how it is currently being used and if it can and then how it can be used more effectively and creatively – and then which innovations can we add into the mix? There are a LOT of ideas bobbing around in my head (and the staff here too have so much to offer!) and there are definitely opportunities to explore them (with a budget in mind of course!).

Soooo…stay tuned, folks! Ill continue to post what I can publicly of the things going on at work (there have been some super sweet moments and funny conversations with these K-6 kids already!), but mostly I will continue to explore current topics in educational technologies here that interest me…on deck is the topic of e-bokos and the role of the library in the digital age…Im off to a soccer game (yes, to play in this frigid weather)!

- Lisa

(oh yes the title of this post IS my favorite Counting Crows album)