Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Never Been About the Technology

(For an update read which relates to the below comments)

I remember the excitement and enthusiasm I had as a Biology teacher from the anticipation of using technology in the classroom.  My hope was I could use the technology to bring learning from a different perspective and pass on that enthusiasm for new learning.

I made it a must to attend Macworld Conference in the 90's because I saw something within a company and a group of enthusiasts that had potential to help our learning and teaching.  I wanted to capture that innovation, expectation, enthusiasm and the special culture of growth and learning that was evident at the show and among the employees and vendors.  Mind you, there were few if any education vendors at the show.  I wanted what these folks were introducing and presenting to rub off on me and my students.  I wanted to keep up with the technology and see where it was going, and how I could apply any part of that to my classroom and my professional growth.  

Later in my career, as a site principal, I made it a point to send a group of teachers annually to the show so that "culture" would rub off on them.  Frankly, that type of energy and air of innovation was missing in many of our classrooms.  My question was, why can't our classrooms and schools be "hopping" with that type of desire for learning and receiving new information?

Is it the technology or is it the culture that drives technology?  And is it the learning and type of work that goes on in an organization that drives technology to be so useful and applicable to achieving new things in our own lives?  I remember the anticipation Apple enthusiasts had as they lived for the "aha" moment when Steve Jobs would introduce the latest and greatest.  

What excited them?  What brought about that moment described as almost magical?  It was something not only new and innovative, but I remember thinking about what this technology could do - how it could improve our lives and how it could be useful for us personally.  
I always believed and remain believing we can harness that enthusiasm and excitement and create a special culture that leverages learning with teachers and students.  We can generate excitement not so much about the technology, but we look forward to and create that anticipation of the possibilities that lie in front of all of us.  We cultivate a vision of the powerful learning technology creates for our learning and lives.  I see where school  becomes a place of opportunity and entrepreneurism with the enthusiasm that comes toward a fresh and bold approach to what learning could look like.

When Steve Jobs rolled out iTunes, I thought that was brilliant from a marketing point of view in how he "disrupted" the music industry, but I also saw how we could take media and make it available in a mobile environment.  That gave us educators and our students the open door to have access to media 24/7 at just about any location!!  From a learning point of view, that opens up a whole new world for all of us: students and educators.  This is what excites us.  However, those of us who have seen the potential to the change we have hoped could exist in the classroom have also been commensurately frustrated with the disparity between the "Macworld like" environment and the classroom.

Great companies create great products, and their excitement is bolstered and confirmed with the introduction and successes of those products.  Great educators and great schools create a great product of learning, and they do so with innovation and excitement with or without technology.  It just so happens technology is a "must" tool that is a force multiplier to innovation, creativity and a passion for learning.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blog: How to Get High-Quality Student Work in PBL

John Larmer's Blog ( has a recent post reflecting on student quality work in project based learning.  I highly recommend the read and resource it provides especially in light of our movement toward project based learning and how we can ensure students have structure and a definite set of tools to determine progress and learning.

The article is highlighted with some key questions in his reflection on quality project based learning:

1.  Was there a use of rubrics and examplars to help students understand the quality of work expected?

2.  Did the project include effective formative assessment?

The author references 8 Essentials for Project Based Learning found at:

He specifically refers to revision and reflection.

3.  Did the students have enough time to revise and polish their work?

4.  Did the project feel authenticate enough to motivate students?  Did they care?  (Great question!!)

5.  Do my classroom and my school cultivate a culture of quality?

The author refers to High Tech High ( as a standard (some of us have visited the one in Napa) and he encourages the use of PBL rubrics (

As we develop our skills in project based learning and move into new common core curriculum, the most important aspect of our planning has to be in spending our energies into developing the answers to the last question.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Home Grown Achievement

Three years ago Corcoran High School Athletic Director was searching for a Varsity Girls' Tennis Team coach.  Little did he know the coach he was searching for was right under his nose - literally.  Coach Lerma knew he could not leave the kids in the cold, and decided he would take the bull by the horns and coach our girls.  It is interesting to see what has transpired the last three years.

Coach Lerma added to his teaching and athletic director daily and annual schedule a commitment to provide opportunities for success for Corcoran High School girl tennis players.  He took a group of girls with little playing experience prior to high school and helped them develop some skills and habits in tennis competition that brought them to the pinnacle for their team on November 6, 2013:  an undefeated 22 and 0 season with the first ever Corcoran High School Valley Championship in Girls' Tennis.  It is ironic this is the school's 100 year anniversary.  The last three years included a League Co-championship and advancement to the Valley Semifinals in 2011, Valley Runner-up in 2012, and League and Valley Championship in 2013.

These girls had just about perfect attendance in June, practicing in 100+ temperature, Monday through Thursday.  They relied on each other to not just practice basic skills to improve, but they also took their coach literally when he asked them to expose their teammate's weaknesses, thus making practice that much more meaningful. In a nutshell, they became better as the season progressed.  They not only practiced hard, but they did what John Wooden called "perfect practice."

I think the lesson in learning we can take away from these "role-models" is how the coach and the team took care of the first things first:  mental discipline and a mindset for growth as Carol Dweck (author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success)  would describe.  Their coach offered, "There are no clocks in tennis. The students had to be convinced the only way to win their matches is to defeat their opponents."

They learned to win, mentally.  Coach Lerma also shared the students had to learn a "killer instinct" which is something that did not come naturally to this group.  As he put it, "They were too nice in June; competitors in August.  Because they had this mindset, they then could become focused by season's end."

I also think part of that mental toughness comes from a mindset they learned and practiced in the classroom.  The team has an outstanding 3.6 grade point average.  I think of what Stanford football coach David Shaw says about Stanford athletes when he was asked how great students can be good football players.  His answer:  these kids already are competitive, and they already are familiar with that desire to do and be the best.

Here are a few quotes that sum up the teams' mindset from a few of our teacher/coaches:

Watching the first tennis match of my life was awesome to see what you girls were able to do. Very tough mentally and ALL of CHS is very proud of you guys and Gals. 

Mr. Freddie Lopez

What an accomplishment and way of keeping composure!  The toughest minded girls at CHS!  

Mr. Miguel Alvarez  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Our Brains Are More Active During Sleep Than Lecture??

This is the second time I have heard Dr. Eric Mazur from Harvard University (Exemplary Practices in Leadership Conference on October 17, 2013 sponsored by CSU Fresno's Central Valley Leadership Institute), and I am enriched and even more equipped in my knowledge of classroom practices and how they affect learning.

It was interesting to see the majority of the answers consistently polled among all of his audiences to the question, "How do we best become really good at what we are best at dong?"  Unequivocally the majority answer in his word cloud has been "practice."  He emphasized nobody answers “lecture.”

He went on to display 24-hour period EEG brainwave activity slides of students.  The brain goes flat while students are in class and watching television!  He noted the brainwave activity is greater during sleep than class.

The explanation?  The brain shuts down because the learning is passive, and we become receivers of input (lecture and television) in lieu of having the opportunities to think and pause and reflect when the brain is working.

What happens in a lecture?  We are watching, listening, observing,  and the mind is often wandering, (brains not wired to multitask), daydreaming, etc.  We are in a passive mode.

He brought up the idea about the typical classroom architecture.  It was derived from the ancient Greeks that designed these as performance spaces; not learning spaces.

Key question: is education simply a transfer of information?  If it is, what pragmatic thing should we do?  We could then get a computer to transfer information, correct?  Would that then accomplish the same purpose?  Students don't study to learn, they study to pass the test.  So much of education is about the student regurgitating information back to us.  Is it more than just getting them to do what we want them to do? 

The obvious answer is education is more than the transfer of information.  It is about engagement, passion, collaboration, hands on, brains on, practice, doing something with information, and thinking about the information.  Education is more about exploration with opportunities to create and think.  (You cannot think while you are listening).

He noticed a problem with his Physics students showing an ability to do complicated textbook problems, and yet, not able to understand a basic Physics concept such as "force."  He realized this was so because they did so by rote.  There was no transfer of knowledge.   There was a lack of retention of the material with an absence of application.

The reality is there is a initial need to transfer information, and this first step happens in class where the teacher assimilates the information, help students make sense of it, and connects it to their experiences.

The second more important step typically happens outside of class.  How does the “aha” moment happen?  This occurs most times outside of the classroom.  This second step is the hardest and the one that should be focused on.  We leave students to do the second step on their own.  Unfortunately, ninety percent of the flipped classroom movement is on step one.

The answer is really nothing new:  teach by questioning rather than by telling (Socrates)

He has a process in place that leverages this principle:  question, think, poll, discuss (find neighbor with different answer and try to persuade), re-poll, and explain.  This provides students the opportunity to assess their own knowledge.  Information now goes both ways.  

He found by structuring and encouraging peer discussion, he could overcome the “Curse of Knowledge.”  Recent learners’ explanations can be much more powerful in their effectiveness because they just encountered the struggle and the “aha” in their learning.  We teachers forget the struggles in learning because it is so far removed from us in time and experience.

This whole process puts the information in context.  Students just do not receive the information as passive learners, but now they are in a position to actively think about the question.  They turn to a neighbor to not  just discuss the answer but are forced to discuss the reasoning behind the answer.  Now there is an ownership and even an emotional involvement in the discussion, which amplifies learning even more.

Results?  There were doubled conceptual learning gains with an increased performance in traditional problems.  Just as marathon runners require running to prepare for running, Physics students have to practice Physics and solve Physics problems  instead of watching a Harvard professor do problems.

FYI, Peer is a resource for teachers to find other people who are using peer instruction in Mathematics. 

Ultimately these principles and findings about powerful learning is still about human interaction!

Copies of the above slides were obtained from Dr. Mazur's October 17, 2013 lecture at the above referenced conference.

Dr. Mazur has referenced a copy of his presentation at:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Reflection on our Bootcamp

I appreciate the learning and the excitement behind the learning exhibited by our staff in Monday's (October 14, 2013) all day district sponsored "Technology Bootcamp."  This is our third year of the Bootcamp, and it is encouraging to see how this is becoming a part of our culture.  I think it is important to take a "time out" from our busy schedule and spend a day focused on learning how technology can enhance our practice to enhance student learning.

In reflecting on the work our teachers are doing as well as the learning, I can say we are continually growing in our proficiency in using the technology in more effective and applicable ways.  It is great to see our own teachers provide some of the training.  I am sure many more of our teachers would be able to do the same knowing the expertise that exists in our District.

A quote that impressed me provided by the presenter in a break out session on Project Based Learning was:

"We don't need our kids to memorize facts; we need them to be able to use those facts."

I also enjoyed the presentation from our Keynote speaker, Jim Sill.
The perspective is refreshing, and his insight and experiences as a teacher lend much credibility to his emphasis on how learning can be leveraged using technology.  I always appreciate the "techie" perspective since they are in the know so to speak when it comes to technology use trends especially by our teenagers.  I was sitting in the back of the room and would at many times glance at the high schoolers (Corcoran High School Associated Student Body Officers who helped serve during the luncheon) that were standing in the back of the room.  They were very in tune to our presenters tech jargon and references to the latest and greatest tech trends.  They were totally engaged and interested in the presentation!  I think that speaks volumes about this generation of students, their interests, and where they spend their time.  Does this not reinforce the power of leveraging tech tools in their day to day connections with school and communications with staff and peers?

I understand that one Technology Bootcamp Professional Day is not going to make a big difference over night.  But, I do also understand how reinforcing the rationale and the practice of using technology in powerful ways can make a huge difference in our work with our students on a daily basis.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Apple Distinguished Educator Don Orth

I recently had the opportunity to listen and see a presentation by Don Orth from Hilbrook School in Los Gatos, Ca.  Don currently serves the Director of Technology and Strategic Partnerships and is a recognized Apple Distinguished Educator.

Don Orth
I hope by sharing the following summary and notes, you can learn and gain as much of the insight and innovative thinking Don shared with an audience of about 40 district and school technology educational leaders as I did.

Exploration and Innovation

iPads have been the single most influential spark of innovation at Hillbrook School.  Don provided the label of the iPad as being the "Trojan Mouse", a term coined by Justin Reich.

I thought of the term "psychological safety" when Don shared one of the core values at his school is to "take risks!"  He noted this is much easier to do with students than teachers, but there is that message that it is OK to take that stretch and it is OK if it does not work.  The challenge question he provided is, how do you make time for teachers to practice and play?  

Another good question for all of us:

If you know why use technology, can you talk about it?  

The message I received is we need to do a better job of communicating our rationale to students and community.  And the message needs to be clear.

Their Foundations for their initiative are:

Professional Development
The focus is to develop a growth mindset. How do you encourage teachers to seek out and learn?  We need to encourage them to look outward.  The key is to understand and limit the barriers such as time, or pressures of the job, and tap into their motivations.  How do you help them own and partner in their initiatives?

Key questions
1.  What basic skills do I need to work on? (Foundation)
2.  What expertise would I like to deepen? (Competence)
3.  What would I like to research? (Curiosity)
4.  What school initiatives am I working on?
5.  What risk am I willing to take? (Risk)

Digital Citizenship
The focus should be on helping students to navigate a digital world.  Kids have access eventually to an unfiltered world.  There appears to be a huge gap between what parents know and what the kids and school know about what is out there and how to deal with it.  When a student brings a device home, there arises a whole new set of responsibilities.  The key is to help partner with parents.  Hillbrook school has a student media agreement where the parent and the student pick ten things they agree on with use at home which is a beginning of a conversation.   Parents are grateful for these conversations because they are trying to keep up - parents don't know!

Work Flow
Ho do you manage student work? This includes all communication digitally , transfer of files, etc.  How do you distribute materials to students and back?  How do students create content and how do they share it out?  How is the E-portfolio set up, and how is the access and readability?

Learning Spaces
Traditional classrooms are getting in the way of using mobile devices.  Don took the computer lab out and put in tables which can be folded, and created an environment where the furniture is moved and placed accordingly to the lesson.  This resulted in students helping to set up the environment, and they had to figure out the type of work they were doing and the work and then changed the environment.  Students gained much more ownership, and as a result, the teaching changes.  A large factor is the teacher develops the lesson first, and then the students change the classroom spaces in order to accomodate the plan and the learning!  (See iLab promo video fall 2012 under videos in the link below)

Here is a quote by Don: 

Who controls the space between intention and what happens?

Check out his iBook with great tools and resources:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Will This Affect K-12 Public Education?

Millions join the education free-for-all on the internet

Free online courses allow anyone, regardless of educational qualifications, to study whatever they like

MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course, and these are in many cases free to anyone anywhere anytime.  The referenced article describes the status and work of the these online courses, and I hope the reader gets an idea of how they can be leveraged to help our kids as they grow through our system.
The following quote provides a description,

The defining characteristics of the MOOC is that it is open to anyone regardless of educational background, it’s free to take part – all you need is an internet connection and students – are encouraged to interact through online forums and, in many cases, help grade each other’s work.
I had an opportunity with the last year to hear Andrew Ng, a professor a Stanford University who is the founder of Coursera which offers several of these courses free of charge:
Coursera got started nearly two years ago when I put one of my courses online and it reached 100,000 students,” says Ng. “To put that number in context from the instructor perspective, I usually teach 400 students in my class at Stanford and to reach a comparably-sized audience I would have had to teach that class for 250 years.”
What are the "what ifs" for us?
Read more at:
From  The Irish Times Published July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reflecting on our Work for 21st Century Learning

New terms, methods, ideas, assessments, and technology seem to be coming at educators all at once.  I think there is wisdom in adapting to change by choosing what not to do as well as doing "new things." There is no doubt technology and the fast paced, information driven world students live in has created our need to adapt and provide different approaches.  However, we cannot forget, and we do not forsake understanding and practicing teaching and learning principles that never change.

For example, our District learning theory is based on firm principles of learning and teaching:

Students learn best in an environment of caring, trust, respect and high expectations with the opportunities for learning based on the creation of powerful, varied learning experiences where students actively participate in their learning and when opportunities to work collaboratively in the classroom are provided on a regular basis. 

We could argue the emphasis today is on students being much more active in their learning as compared to the old and accepted model of students being passive receivers of information.  That is a change in our approach, but it is not a change in how we learn best.  Students always have and always will learn best by "doing" and being interested and even emotionally involved in their learning.  

Why the big push to go this direction today (as opposed to the lack of urgency when the former set of standards first arrived)?  I think the urgency is equated to the pace of change and the conditions of the world our students will be stepping into as they leave our schools.  Students need to have skills that allow them to adapt to an environment that will produce new jobs with a variety of skill sets that have not yet even been determined.  In lieu of just singularly preparing students for specific jobs and careers, all students need to be prepared for a common set of skills and proficiencies that provide a foundation for their success.  Students need to be great communicators, creators, problem solvers, collaborators, critical thinkers and men and women of character.  

In other words, the urgency is not just about content.  It is much more about preparing our students to be equipped with those competencies that provide the skills and confidence to be successful in their specific areas of interest and passion.  Therein is the change we need to embrace to make this happen.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Technology, Creativity and Student Writing

Teachers: Technology Encourages Student Creativity, Makes Teaching Writing Easier

Are digital tools like cell phones and social networking sites undermining students' writing skills or helping to improve them?
A new survey of teachers from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that most teachers involved in the survey consider technology beneficial to writing in several ways, including creativity and personal expression (78 percent), collaboration (79 percent), and the ability to share their work with a wider audience (96 percent).

Read more at 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Elementary School 21st Century Learning

What Does 21st Century Learning Look Like in an Elementary School?

Posted by Ian Jukes on 
“One of the points stressed by former teacher Angela Watson in this Cornerstone article is that the majority of ed tech trends in education today are oriented towards the higher grades. Thus was born her journalistic quest to illustrate what learning in the 21st century looks like for the elementary school classroom. Read on for some great insights and resources to help you envision this. ”

That’s the question that was posed to me this week by the faculty at a wonderful school on Manhattan’s upper east side in preparation for some upcoming PD work. I think it’s an outstanding question that’s worth reflecting on in-depth as we all start to think about what our goals and direction are for the next school year.What does 21st century learning look like? is an essential question and overarching topic that I hope to come back to again and again as I think about what works in real classrooms.
It’s an especially important consideration at the elementary level, because so many of the tech trends in education are tested out and geared toward middle and high schools. One-to-one computer initiatives, for example, usually start at sixth grade or higher. Google Apps for Education is fabulous, but to what extent can seven- and eight-year-olds use it?  It takes a bit more reflection to figure out what the trickle-down effect of tech trends really means for the the youngest learners.
Learn more from:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Technology and the New Common Core

Exactly What The Common Core Standards Say About Technology

Posted by Ryan Schaaf on 
“The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are here, and with them justification for using today's teaching approaches and methods of learning. Teachers can spend less time convincing parents, administrators, and politicians to embrace technology use in the classroom and spend their valuable time preparing instruction using the tools and approaches mapped out in the standards. This article from TeachThought identifies key standards taken from the CCSS that specifically identify the use of technology during instruction, and key takeaways for teachers.”

The Common Core Standards, the national academic standards for K-12 schools in the United States, have now been adopted by 47 of the 50 states in the U.S. This makes them the pre-eminent source of what is being taught in the vast majority of public schools in America.
Much has been made in the blogosphere and across social media of the changes compared to former academic standards that were dictated at a state level. Reactions usually involve the added demand these standards place on text complexity and general rigor. Since they’re only available for English-Language Arts and Math, it’s difficult to get a full picture for how they will impact public education, but some inferences can be made based on the set of ELA standards.
Edudemic’s focus is on the intersection of education and technology, and the Common Core certainly takes aim at in-depth student technology use. Four sample standards from elementary, middle, and high school English-Language Arts appear below.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Six C's

We all know the 4 C's: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.  Each and every one of those skills are more important than ever.  The world is information rich, information dependent and information run.  If we and our students do not know how to work our way around this different world, we will see the tools that are meant to bless us become a curse.  I mean that this rapidly changing economy has created a changing job skill set, and our students need to be able to have those main qualities of learning and adapting that provide the basis for meeting the demands of jobs that have not even been create yet!

We see where the demands of the New Common Core can help all of us set up students for their success in meeting the above mentioned demands.  However, there are other sets of skills or qualities we all take for granted, and that has to do with two more "C's:"  Character and Citizenship

I submit the challenge, what good is it to be a good communicator with decent logic (critical thinker) along with having the wherewithal to work with others, and who is creative if that person has little to no sense of character, moral foundation and sense of responsibility to and for others?  I would respond much to C.S. Lewis's quote:

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

I see the necessity and the opportunity in student writings, discussions, reasonings, deliberations, project presentations etc. for students to learn and express moral, ethical and character based principles.  After all, we are requiring students to think through problems in every core area, and we are also setting up lessons for students to explain, justify and express the rationale and reasonings behind their answers.  What a powerful way to interject character and get students to use the principles of character and integrity to provide that foundation for thinking and reasoning!

Even though these added "C's" will not be tested per se, they need to be planned, taught and learned, and I would argue students will fair much better in their other 4 C's.  The reason?  We can tap into those very issues every student can be passionate about!  And, when we touch their hearts and their minds, students become more focused, energetic and willing to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and personal passions.  We can unlock those!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kings Lake Students and 21st Century Learning

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sit on a mock interview panel of our freshmen Block 9 students this past Thursday morning.  Kudos to Block 9 teachers Leslie Conley and Wendy Rivas who did a very good job of preparing students to succeed in an interview setting. 

It is always encouraging to see our young people excel in a very pressure packed and challenging setting.  This is a far different setting than the ones they have become used to on a daily basis.  We know the life of a young teenager is preoccupied with what would appear to be many more "interesting" things than preparing for job interviews.  To their credit, our kids did take it very seriously and did put some real effort into the process.

Here is why this type of learning and this type of exercise is so relevant today:

  • One of the four C's in 21st Century Learning is being modeled and taught in this process.  That "C" is communication.
  • Students learn to communicate in so many positive ways including learning to speak publicly under pressure, and to speak confidently to a group of strangers.  
  • They also learn to communicate in different ways such as coming to the interview dressed appropriately and they are learning to pay attention to their body language and how that can signal a weakness or a strength in an interview.  Even somethings simple like eye contact, and a firm handshake can make the difference in being considered for employment.  Of course, students also learn a bright smile makes all the difference as well.
  • They learn to communicate in writing, and they find neatness, skill, efficiency and proper use of words and construction of sentences can make all the difference even in an interview for cashier job.  

I look forward to these same students leveraging their confidence and ability to communicate to the next level through online resumes, blogs, and other writings to show off those skills that prepare them for the electronically rich world they are entering as adults.

The powerful aspect of this learning is these students not only learn these "interview" skills at a young age, and they can apply it to similar real experiences in the future, but most importantly, these young people can learn to apply these principles to their everyday lives!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Salt Lake City, Utah Apple Leadership Event Notes

I had the privilege of presenting at an Apple Leadership Event recently in Salt Lake City, Utah.  As has become our custom in our District, I make it a point to share what I learn from these inspiring events.

Here are a few apps I picked up.  Make sure you check them out:

I also received another dose of learning about iBook Author.  We really need to take advantage of this.  We will learn more about this later.  And of course there is iTunes U where we have access to free courses both in college and K-12. More PD to follow here as well.

Apple Distinguished Educator Cheryl Davis

I had the opportunity to learn from Cheryl Davis who is the Technology Specialist from Acalanes Union High School District.

She had shared some of the exciting things that are happening with teacher and student from the evolution of teachers sharing some of their successes using iTunes U, the use of iPod Touches in many classrooms to the roll out of a 1:1 iPad pilot for half of the Freshman class at one of the high schools.

Cheryl listed four of the most pleasantly surprising things that have happened with the advent of technology being used in their district:

1.  She noticed much more student use of complex text and literacy.  She mentioned the existence of a natural symbiotic relationship between iPad touch devices and a willingness of students to read more complex text. She described students having a much more voracious appetite in their reading.

The students being able to physically touch words on the text on an iPod Touch or iPad gave them ease to annotate, take notes, and look up definitions.  Student  literacy levels took a leap upwards.

She gave an example of how the teacher added the  element of  a "back channel" during oral Socratic. Discussion.  Teachers saw amazing progression with students reading and responding to each other.  The student enthusiasm and engagement were increased when students read aloud on iPads and annotate that reading with the opportunity to demonstrate the reading and annotations by putting them on the screen.  Students encouraged other students, " You put yours up there," and this led into great discussions.

Another exciting piece I would like to see more in our District is students publishing with apps like Creative Book Builder.  Students used text, images, video and sound and wrote reflective essays with glossary included! Students use this multimedia tool to create books, and students love them because they become a publisher and share books with parents and students.

2.  The introduction of the iPad encouraged more teacher collaboration.  Their personal learning communities took an upbeat step as teachers are now more excited about what they are doing to the point of stepping up and sharing.  More and more teachers now understand the technology and have more control of the device and how it can be used to improve teaching and learning.

3.  Cheryl saw a turn in student engagement where it became more than just being engaged with the device.  There was a sense of excitement and expectation among teachers and students where students stepped up to assist their peers.  There was also this sense where teachers and students were "in this together" in the new endeavor to use technology for greater learning.  Teachers also started to let go and have students find ways to express content.  This was a shift where the teacher designated a learning outcome without requiring one specific app or way of expression how the content and outcome was to be presented, illustrated or described.  Cheryl called it a place in learning where students engineer learning themselves.

4. Cheryl observed a shifting in pedagogy.  Teacher noticed new tasks began happening with students.  For example one Math teacher flipped the classroom but took it a step further with iPads and challenged students to make their own instructional videos.  He expressed to the students that you get tired of hearing me, and now it is time to hear from you!

There is also a shift of more students creating instruction for other students (used combo of iMovie and Explain Everything).  Math and Science classes used the technology to add to the hands on and enrich the learning.  The iPad creates flexibility for learning and teaching where no longer students sit on side while someone else uses the technology.  Also, students find solutions easier from working collaboratively, and the mobile device takes away the "divided" desktop or laptop screen where students can work together over a flat and easy to move iPad screen.  Lastly, the school found students had a much easier way to connect with experts, using a social network called Tout.  One powerful example included students asking questions from a historian at Antietam.