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Scratch 101: Just 'Scratching' the Surface!

A Scratch 101 workshop I recently experienced 'just scratched the surface' of the myriad of projects that are possible for creative coders. Here is my 1st attempt at coding a little digital story. Looking forward to learning more about the immense potential of Scratch for Computer Science learning with students as we kick off our Hour of Code and K-5 coursework in the coming weeks!

Resources to Explore:

 * Hide & Seek [Hour of Code Tutorial]


HUB Work Session @MCLIMS Pops Off!

Thoughtful questions stemming from many kernels of curiosity characterized a voluntary after-school work session by MCLIMS teachers to build and refine their HUB lessons and update classroom pages on the campus website. This was an opportunity to get some support and assistance at point of need while collaborating with colleagues. Our sincere thanks to Christina Estes, Houston ISD Hub Administrator, whose knowledge, expertise and support was extremely helpful to all in this effort! Thanks also to Olivia Hooper & Liang Guo for their phenomenal organizational planning and execution!

From this effort along with ideas shared from colleagues on my campus and at recent HUB Lead meetings, I've gained some specific strategies to ...

  • Design digital components of lessons: Process of backwards planning through analysis of curriculum guides or upcoming 9-week cycle learning targets is driving force behind integrating technology strategically. Planning Guides are fundamental source of lesson content and design! They have online resources, guiding questions for engagement and exploration as well as Performance Tasks.
  • Enable collaboration: Add teachers to one-another's CRS Sandbox. They can collectively build lessons and then together share ideas, workload, and expertise. Afterward, they have the option to copy files, folders, and resources into their own individul active courses.
  • Support with Admin. Level Access: This level of course access allows campus admin.'s to add learning content to individual teachers and classes to support/model classroom tech. integration. This was an option I didn't realize was available to me!
  • Take Advantage of 'Single Sign On' to provide an access point for relevant tools & content. When logged into the HISD Hub, students can not only access a variety of digital resources, they can also engage with digital media assigned by teachers within Discovery Ed. to meet specific learning targets. The Discovery Ed. platform also allows students to create their own content using the Board Builder tool. Any Discovery Education resource can be added to a board and students can further personalize their work and tell their story by uploading or hyperlinking their own images, videos, audio and documents. Students can also customize backgrounds, text formats, and templates.When students share a board, it isn't visible to the class until it is approved by their teacher. Teachers can also provide personalized feedback with built-in feedback option for students or groups. This document - 50 Ways to Use Board Builder - is a great source of ideas to begin building!

  • Embed BrainPop Resource Pages: A resource page that links directly to a specified video can be added to a course folder though adding Ready-to-use Content from Library.


  • Build in Custom Activities: While offline completing performance tasks or managing phases in a project, custom activities may be a useful mechanism for student task management and for formative assessment. 

Digital Citizenship Survival Kit

Inspired by The New & Improved Digital Citizenship Survivial Kit, I made one myself as well as these slides & a reflection page to go along with it. Props & metaphors like these can become concrete connectors for kids to more abstract ideas in study of cybersafety, cyberethics, and cybersecurity over upcoming weeks.



2015 National Student Privacy Symposium

The panelists and attendees of the 2015 National Student Privacy Symposium sponsored by the Data Quality Campaign were diverse -- policy-makers, tech. industry representatives, researchers, parents and educators. Wide-ranging disussion and exchange of ideas and perspectives about critical concerns around uses of student data, privacy and security was both informative and raised complex questions for us to grapple with. Long-term concerns about data accumulation are growing. Digital or Data Literacy? We don’t know ourselves how our data is used, sold or combined. So how can we effectively inform our students’ decision-making? For students? Cultivate understanding about how data accumulates over time. Make sure to build students' awareness of the need to think critically about information shared and who it is shared with!

Here also are few Waterlogued photos from a long walk around the beautiful Washington Mall and my sincere appreciation goes to sponsors for providing my travel scholarship to Washington D.C.

Some Key Discussion Points....

   Kati Haycock: President of Education Trust

  • We need data to know where we are, where we are making progress, and where we are not. We need to data to monitor gaps in opportunity that need attention. Not just gaps in achievement but opportunity as well. Data helps dispel myths--& identify schools, districts, states whose progress we can celebrate and learn from.  Data helps us determine what is working and what is not. Good data, together with technology, can help us personalize the learning experiences of our students - but also let us know when such customization isn’t working. Ensure personalization is accelerating learning of all groups of children. Put tools to good use to accelerate learning of all children not just some.

The Potential Risks of Student Data Collection and Use

  • Risks in data use today with the cloud & re-identification are evident.  Privacy and security are primary considerations. There is a delicate balance between interest of individual vs. interest of collective in getting benefits from data-sharing while minimizing cost. There are different core concerns and tension between the two. What do 3rd parties do with the data? This is not just a concern with outside actors but education inside actors, i.e. student profiling.

  • Greater transparency is needed about how information is used. Perspective from parents critical in developing, designing and distributing data driven tools. Approach our practices with privacy & security as moments to cultivate shared privacy outlook instead of opportunities for legalese!

  • Terms of service are written to protect liability, not to protect us. Pearson monitors twitter for posts about tests. Google scans student email (possibly for marketing). Administrators have used students' laptops remotely in to monitor behavior. An Asst. Principal’s fake Facebook profile was used to track students’ behavior.

National Student Privacy Parent Survey:  Survey Release and Discussion

  • Evidence of Benefit (Direct to Their Child), Privacy & Security: "The closer to the individual classroom and their own child, the more strongly parents support data collection and use. As data use becomes less directly tied to students, parents still want to comprehend the benefit to the classroom."



Merging Art with Technology to Celebrate Creativity & Perseverance @MCLIMS on International Dot Day 2015!

International Dot Day 2015 @MCLIMS from elizabeth eastman on Vimeo.