Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Watch Sumac Students Create Geometry Stories

Eric Tally allowed me to film his 3rd grade class last week as students learned geometry by creating animations. Eric used Frames, which was installed on the classroom computers. There is a cost associated with Frames, but there are free websites that allow for story creation (they are more limited than Frames). There are also several story creation iPad apps.

A few helpful tips that allowed Mr. Tally’s class to run smoothly:

  1. Remind students to save their work, regularly and often.

  2. Check for understanding that students know how to use the device and features before sending them off to use it.

  3. Have students create only parts of the story, teach them software features incrementally then let them practice what they just learned.

  4. Review content during the time they are creating their animation.

  5. If you don’t have enough devices for each student, students can work on different aspects of the assignment, or other classroom work while they are waiting their turn.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Student Webpages for Portfolios & More

Student webpages can open up a world of learning for you and your students. During my first year teaching I piggybacked on the work of a colleague who had students create webpages with links to all of their classes to showcase their work. I continued this practice throughout my time in the classroom as I saw few projects bring a greater sense of accomplishment and pride than their webpages.

Through Google Sites I created a homepage as an example for my students, but it has transformed over the years. I started posting assignments, videos and pictures related to the class or my students on the website. I used the student webpages to show exemplar work, generally yielding better student projects. (Through Google Analytics I have discovered that people all over the world visit my webpage! My entrepreneurial spirit wonders how I can capitalize on this.) Now my webpage is a home to some professional documents and resources.

When I helped my 11th and 12th grade students create the pages I taught them about cyber safety and encouraged them to use their online portfolio as they started applying for jobs and to colleges. Students also used their webpages to complete group projects, and were able to collaborate on their assignments real-time, even if they couldn’t get together by using Google Drive.

Webpages aren’t only for secondary students. Last year Round Meadow’s George Hees had his students create webpages through Weebly. The privacy feature that requires a password to enter the students’ site is one of the features that appealed to him about Weebly over Google. He too has created his own page, which he uses as an alternative to the teacher webpages provided by the district, to communicate to his students and their families. Check out some of the student’s webpage below at the end of this post.

The student directions for creating a webpage either through Google, or Weebly are attached. You will likely need to change the directions to fit your class. (Thank you for sharing George!)

*Note: If you decide to have your students create webpages you may want to inform their parents.


Student directions for creating a Weebly.

Student directions for creating a Google Site.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Collaborating with Mobile Phones

I was given an article, called "44 Smart Ways to Use Smartphones in Class" that discussed some ideas that I've come across before, but also some simple, yet innovative ideas. But out of all of them, one definitely stuck out to me on collaborating through mobile phones, both smart and (un)smart phones (I'm not sure what to call them!)

The article is called "Calling All Resources: Fostering the Right Time to Write" and explains how John Hardison, an ELA teacher in Georgia, facilitates his students using their phones and other devices to peer edit their writing through various forms. To sum it up, Hardison explains how he uses a traffic signal to cue students when to use their devices and allows students to use whatever means they prefer to write and edit their peers' work. His students choose to have soft lighting with classical music playing in the background to create the "ultimate writing atmosphere," as he puts it. But what stuck out the most was his perspective on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and allowing students to choose their method of writing, including paper and pencil. He states that "I want students to absolutely fall in love with their writing by any appropriate means of composition available. The end result is most important, not how they arrived." I think that this statement is vital for us to remember, because it is so easy to get caught up in all of the "21st Century Tools" and loose sight of the real goal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Media Specialists on Campus Today

Look for the Media Specialists on campus today. You can usually find us in the Library/Media Center, or the Media Clerk can tell you about our whereabouts. Below is our schedule for today:


8-11a.m.: Sumac

12-3p.m.: Willow


8-11a.m.: Bay Laurel

12-3p.m.: Lupin Hill


8-11a.m.: Round Meadow

12-3p.m.: Chaparral

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spice up Your Teacher Webpage or Blog by Adding a Widget

I recently helped a teacher get her online book shelf, via Amazon’s Shelfari, posted on her teacher webpage and found that there are widgets for every teacher! If you don't find one for you, there's a website where you (or a savvy student) can create one. Read on to discover a widget you may want for your teacher webpage. Click here for directions on how to post the widget to your teacher webpage.

Mrs. Kimball's Shelfari Widget


This list below abbreviated from a blog post. The full post has many more widgets and explanation of how to add the widgets to a blog. 


Flickr Slideshow and Badges - Easily add photos from your flickr account to your sidebar.

YouTube - Place in YouTube channels or top trending videos. 


Google Translate – Instantly translate your blog into many different languages. 


Shelfari - Show off your favorite books for others to see.

Education Atlas – Free thesaurus and dictionary widget with many features. 

Science & Math

Science Score – A science question of the day. Students can even enter to win prizes.

Wolfram Alpha – Quite possibly the best resource on this list – Wolfram Alpha contains hundreds of customizable math and science widgets, including unit converters, weather tools, graphing calculators, problem solvers, and much more. This might be the only resource math and science students and teachers need for their blogs! 


Info Please – Nice looking “this day in history” widget that displays multiple events and updates every day.

Timeline Index – 30 different timelines showcasing several different periods of history – including US presidents, world history outline, philosophers, and explorers. 

Talking Avatars

Voki - Add a speaking and highly customizable avatar to your blog.  Record you voice, create a character, and much more!


Sweet Search – Place a search box for a trusted and safe for students search engine. 

Google Apps

Google Maps – Embed a Google map – complete with directions, street views, and more.

Google Gadgets – Choose from hundreds of different widgets, including games, trivia and more.

Widget Sites & Collections –The definite go-to place to find and build your own widgets. Edublogs uses several widgets from here on our main site!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Media Specialists on Campus Today

Look for the Media Specialists on campus today. You can usually find us in the Library/Media Center, or the Media Clerk can tell you about our whereabouts. Below is our schedule for today:


8-11a.m.: White Oak E.S.

12-3p.m.: Yerba Buena E.S.


8-11a.m.: Agoura H.S.

12-3p.m.: Lindero Canyon M.S.


8-11a.m.: A.C. Stelle M.S.

12-3p.m.: Calabasas H.S.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Service Learning Hours at the EdTech Dept.

If you know of a high school student in our district that is tech savvy and needs to fill their service learning hours, please encourage them to apply to volunteer in our department. They can pick up and return the application to their school’s Counseling Office. We assign students tasks based on their interest, experience, and our department needs. Some of these tasks include:  processing new equipment, disposing of e-waste, troubleshooting with techs on site, and website development/maintenance. 

Attached, is the detailed explanation of the position and the student application/questionnaire.

LVUSD EdTech Service Learning Volunteer Project

EdTech Volunteer Questionnaire

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Zimbra Layout

We have created a tutorial to assist everyone in the district with adjusting to the changes to our Zimbra accounts. Watch the video by clicking on the play button and please put in a work order if you have any questions/concerns.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Media Specialists On Campus Today

Look for the Media Specialists on campus today. You can usually find us in the Library/Media Center, or the Media Clerk can tell you about our whereabouts. Below is our schedule for today:


8-11a.m.: Sumac

12-3p.m.: Willow


8-11a.m.: Bay Laurel

12-3p.m.: Lupin Hill


8-11a.m.: Round Meadow

12-3p.m.: Chaparral

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome Back!!

Happy New Year!  Hope you had a great break.  As you seen by now the EdTech department has been working over break updating  Zimbra to the newest version!  As with all things new there are always a few glitches that need to be worked out. Here are some of the issues that have been coming up for some of you and solutions to help you solve them:

1. Zimbra Person Contact Groups:

    Issue: Personal contact groups only send to a small number of users and/or 1 user

    Description: The format of contacts in 'Contact Groups' has changed.  This requires editing each contact and/or recreating list


        a. Log into Zimbra

        b. Select 'Address Book' from the menu headder

        c. Select the group list and hit 'Edit'

        d. Click the green '+' for each contact

        e. Edit each contact

                --The issue is with the email address field.  If you delete everything except for the full email address it will work

    Note: This is a global change and most likely will not be resolved in future releases of Zimbra.  This will take manual changes to correct


2. Shares (Calendar, Briefcase, Email, etc):

    Issue: Cannot access shares from other users.

    Description: Some shares are provided a '404' or '403' error page when trying to access other people's shared information


        a. Log out of the user's account in the upper right hand corner (little down arrow next to the user's name)

        b. Select the drop down next to 'Version' and select 'Standard (html)' and log back in

        c. The Standard portal allows access to shares

    Note: This is a global issue with Zimbra 8 and Zimbra is working on a solution to remedy the issue in the Default Ajax version.


3. Error Messages:

    Issue: Error message prompts while using mail.

    Description: Error window prompts while using Zimbra. Does not affect any data or any subsequent issues.

    Fix: There is currently no fix.  Bryan is working with Zimbra to correct the problem on the current version or future versions.


4. Cursor not working and/or text not typing

    Issue: Mouse cursor vanishes and/or text is not being entered

    Description: While composing a message the mouse cursor vanishes and/or text is not being entered

    Fix: This is most likely a bug within Zimbra.  Refresh the browser session and it will fix the issue

    Note: This is a global issue and will be resolved on future releases of Zimbra


5. Mobile device is not syncing

    Issue: Mobile device is not syncing

    Description: After the update a mobile device is no longer syncing. Typically Android devices.

    Fix:    Try the following steps.  Each may resolve the issue

        A. Try to restart the device (turn off and turn on)

        B. Try to update the password in the device for email (this field may be off)

        C. Delete the account on the device and re-add it


5. Cannot Log into Zimbra

    Issue: Zimbra Portal will not take original password


        A. Log in with your employee ID as their password

        B. Go to to update your password (click the lock 'Change PW')

        C. Log in again to test.

 Hope you find this helpful as always if you run into any other issues please put in an order at