Monday, April 30, 2012

Teacher Drop In Inservice May 2, 2012

Here is the list of workshops for this Wednesday's workshops. All workshops are from 3:30-6pm at the district office. Please bring your teacher laptop with you.

Gradebook - both secondary and elementary
Zimbra- includes briefcase, calendar, and tasks
MicroSoft Office- 2010 version
Shmoop- Special guest will show you ways to use Shmoop in the classroom! For middle and high school teachers!

We look forward to working with you.

Your EdTech Team

Friday, April 27, 2012


I am thrilled to announce that George Hees, 5th grade teacher at Round Meadow Elementary, has been selected as one of the 12 national finalists for the Live! With Kelly Top Teacher Search 2012! As a representative for our district and all the amazing things you do for children on daily basis, I am hoping that we can count on your support to spread the word and get him the votes he needs to be one of the top 5. You can vote at and click the link that reads "Top Teacher Week". From there you can create an account, read the nomination letters for each teacher, and vote for your top 5. VOTING ENDS AT NOON ON MONDAY, APRIL 30 and you can vote once a day. Please spread the word via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, so that we can increase Mr. Hees's chances of making the top 5. It is my understanding that the top 5 will be flown to NYC to be on the show! Again, what a great opportunity to support one of our own!!

Thank you!

Jeremy Resnick
Round Meadow Elementary, Principal

Flipped Classrooms

Within the last couple of months “flipped classrooms” has become a buzz word. So what exactly is a flipped classroom?

Simply put, a flipped classroom shifts the place for direct instruction from the classroom to home, and homework to the classroom.  Students watch 5-7 min. videos on a subject created by the teacher, or another teacher, at home. Then during class the students apply the new content through engaging activities.

For example, a biology student could watch a video on photosynthesis for homework and come to the classroom the next day to complete a lab.

There are several benefits to this model, some include: greater differentiation in the classroom, appeal to multiple learning styles, and helping the student that would give up on their homework because they can’t get their question answered at home.

Here is a link to my Evernote notebook on Flipped Classrooms. This includes articles and webpages on best practices, free tech. resources for flipped classrooms, experiences of teachers implementing the classrooms, a guide for administrators and more:

Here is a 13 min. segment from 60 Minutes on the Khan Academy and flipped classrooms. You will hear the story about how Khan Academy, and essentially flipped classrooms, was started.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DOS Attack Of The LVUSD Website

A "DO Attack" stands for "Denial of Services Attack". This happens when computers or servers with a big connection to the Internet send excessive amounts of data to another server which stops the server from doing its job. In our case, our web server could not serve web pages.

We host our website at a major co-location facility. The security department at the site reported that the flood is coming from across the Globe... China, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, and Romania. An attack like this cost money. It started at 7:00 a.m. 4/24/2012 and stopped at 9:30 a.m. 4/25/2012. The hosting company is preparing a report and will give recommendations on how to better respond to such an attack in the future.

Unfortunately, each recommendation will cost more money on a recurring basis to provide web services at a time when we are facing even deeper financial cutbacks from our state budget. This is only one aspect of an attack like this. Many of our students depend on homework assignments and resources provided by teacher websites. In the last two years many of our teachers have been committed to saving paper and money utilizing this resource.

Another sad outcome is the impact on our community. I received a phone call from a parent today who had a child attending Astro camp with students and teachers from A. C. Stelle Middle School. Our great staff at Stelle post live pictures via our website of activities at the camp. For parents who are letting their children go on their first overnight school activity it was disturbing that this was taken away.

By the amount of data flood, and the targeted attack, I can only deduct that this was not a random crime. Someone or a group has an issue against the district and took it out in this manner. We live in an active community and have a caring school board. There are bound to be issue and complaints at times. Our public law gives us a school board for community representation. This is a much better venue to express issues.

Friday, April 20, 2012

SMART Board, or Promethean, that is the question.

In the district many people have asked me which interactive whiteboard is better SMART boards or Promethean’s boards. The answer is, it depends on the needs of your school. I will provide a summary of my research including a conversation with a SMART technologies rep. (I called two Promethean rep.’s on Tues. afternoon and still have not received a return phone call), articles and blogs in order to guide you as you consider the board that is best for your school.

Before explaining the differences of the products, I want to share important news about the companies. Futuresource Consulting released a report in February showing that SMART boards are being purchased at more than double the rate of Promethean boards. This coupled with the known fact that Promethean is dropping the price of the boards are indications that this company is declining. If your school purchases products from a company that closes then you will not be given future support and their will be less instructional resources offered for the product.

-Price: They fluctuate based on the amount purchased and incentives at the time so you would need to get a price quote based on your school’s need at the time of purchase.

-Resources: There are plenty of resources for teachers to use with both products. Promethean Planet has 56,912 resources and the SMART Exchange has 42,060; however, SMART teachers have created many websites with a large amount of resources independently from the company.


-Pen and/or Finger: SMART operates with finger or pen, and does not need a stylus to operate whereas only Promethean’s newest board allows for both pen and finger operation. The older boards require a stylus (which could be lost or broken) to fully function.

-Simultaneous users: Both boards allow for simultaneous users. SMART allows for two users to complete tasks individually or collectively, while Promethean users can only complete tasks collectively.

-Training/Support: Both websites have training resources. A big pro for SMART technologies is that our district has a SMART trainer, Jeremy, that is co-leading the Wednesday Drop Inservices. Jeremy and I are also planning classes that will be accessible online so that you may advance your learning about how to operate the SMART Board.

Things to consider as you are deciding:

-The school should come to a consensus on which board would be most practical for their teachers.

-The teachers are encouraged to look at the resources of each. As stated Promethean resources can be found here and I have created a short list to explore resources for the SMART technologies here.

-Find local schools that use one of these boards effectively use and observe them. Consider partnering with them for future training or collaboration.


You may view articles and blogs on my Evernote page for more information:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Drop Inservices for the Rest of the School Year

Below is a list of the Drop Inservices for the rest of the school year.

*Please remember to bring your laptop to these sessions.*




4/25: No Inservices

Microsoft Office

Smart boards
SRS Clickers
Lion/your new computer

IXL/Spelling City

Teacher Websites

Web Sites


If you have not attended the 1.5 hours of professional development at our site and can not make one of these dates you may attend 1.5 hours on the 14th or 15th of June at Calabasas High School between the hours of 8:30-4pm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Datawise URL Address Change

Important Datawise Information!

Over Spring break Datawise was upgraded to the 11.1 release.  This procedure has changed our URL address that we use to access Datawise.  Please change your bookmarks to the new URL address that is listed below:


**It is important to note the old web application URL will continue to function until June 30th, 2012; you will simply be redirected to the new URL. This will give you ample time to update any links or shortcuts you may have.



Important note for teachers using Renaissance Clickers:

You will need to update the configuration of your DATAWISE Clicker Client now that  the change has been made. Instructions for doing this can be found here:


If you are using clickers other than Renaissance please let me know and I will find and send you the update configuration that you need.  You can email me at




Thursday, April 12, 2012

DNS and A Rough Spring Break For The EdTech Department

DNS stands for "Domain Name Services". DNS is how the Internet uses names such as to translate to numbers called TCP/IP addresses such as . If you type this IP address into your browser you will get

The week before Spring break our department received feedback that the "Internet" was slow. By Monday morning of this week Bryan Starr, Douglas McDuff, and I narrowed the issue to our internal DNS servers (5). We spent the day correcting the problem. From my perspective, the "Interent" at our schools should always be faster than what our users experience at home.

Our internal systems are now working great. The problem is that some of our computer labs and computers at sites do not automatically pick up on the changes we have made. All new teacher equipment should be fine. Without proper DNS settings users will not be able to get to internal resources such as Aeries and Email and will not be able to get to the Internet. If you discover this is the case for you please go to a computer that is working and submit a work order at

Our tech team is busy going to each school site resetting the labs and front office staff computers.

If you are tech savvy and can check your own settings, the new DNS IP addresses inside our network are and

I titled this post with 'A Rough Spring Break" because on Wednesday morning we lost electrical power at the district office. Our emergency generator kept the servers working through out the day until power was restored at 4:45 p.m. This was fortunate because our techs were able to keep working at sites on this DNS issue. It is nice to know that we can keep your systems operating if we loose power at the district office.

We continue to look forward to seeing you at our Wednesday Drop In Inservices starting back up this week.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hi Team,

Port Hueneme near Oxnard and Ventura is the only deep water port between LA Harbor and San Francisco. Cargo ships carrying fruits and vegetables and cars are the most common. Dole has a big presence along with BMW, Mini Cooper, Kia, and Range Rover.

I started tracking the cargo ships in and out of our local port using a website called The purpose of the site is for businesses to be able to track these ships and inventory. There is a free subscription that gives plenty of data. Using cargo ships is one of the worlds cheapest ways to move inventory. Watching these ships come and go, I cannot help but think there are may lesson plans for math, science, economics, and social studies that can be developed using this information.

If you are interested in working this type of information into your curriculum let me know. I would be happy to assist in lesson plan design and implementation.


iPad App - Notability

Mary Schillinger asked me if I knew of a better application than the standard "Notes" on the iPad. A few minutes later she showed me Notability. This is a $.99 app from the App Store with 686 responders giving it a 4.5 of 5 rating.

I used the application recently at an all day meeting. I was able to take notes freestyle with my finger, type, highlight, add sound, and pictures to the notes I was taking.

Plus: Yellow Pad on steroids. Flexible application with helpful management tools.

Minus: File management is not that intuitive and it is hard to make changes to the structure you create.

I agree with the 4.5 rating and recomend this app.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Library/Media Center Visits

Yesterday the Media Specialists spent the day splitting their time between two of their four assigned schools. Karen Lagola visited Lindero Canyon and Agoura, Brittany Sherman visited White Oak and Yerba Buena and Jennifer Peyrot visited AC Stelle and Calabasas. We were all excited to re-implement our regular visits to the school sites and had a good time connecting with the Media Clerk’s, students and staff that we encountered.

Many people asked what will we be doing on our bi-monthly visits. Our priority is to support the Media Clerks, but we are also available to answer teacher’s questions about our online systems or technology that supports instruction.

Next year we are hoping to conduct Library/Media Center Orientations at the beginning of the year. Throughout the year we hope to support teachers’ projects  by teaching students how to conduct their research through the databases their schools offer.  We look forward to seeing you the Tuesday after Spring Break!

-Brittany Sherman, Karen Lagola, and Jennifer Peyrot

Monday, April 2, 2012

Video Lessons on Internet Products

Ever wonder what somebody means when they say that they "Tweeted" something, or wonder why your friend is inviting you to LinkedIn. Or you want to find out how to work the latest and greatest Internet products. Check out