Month: October 2015

Website Wednesday: PhET Simulations

by Kristie Burk

If you’re looking for simulations for your students, check out PhET, from the University of Colorado Boulder. PhET provides free, interactive, research-based science and mathematics simulations. The simulations are written in Java, Flash or HTML5, and can be run online or downloaded to your computer.

There are simulations in chemistry, biology, physics, math, health, and earth science. You can find simulations by device, grade level or even “cutting-edge research.” The website also includes resources for teachers to use.

PhET conducts research on the interactive simulations to better understand how students engage with them. Most of the simulations can be downloaded and/or embedded directly into a learning management system, such as Schoology.

Do you want to see some simulations in action? Try to balance a chemical equation below!


Tech Tip Tuesday: Starting Planning Now for Hour of Code!

by Jon Blow,  Downingtown Technology Integration Coordinator

Computers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago. Good news — we’re on our way to change this. If you’ve heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know that it made history. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code.

With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. Over 100 partners joined together to support this movement. Last year, every Apple Store in the world hosted an Hour of Code and even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.

This year, let’s make it even bigger. I’m asking you to join in for the Hour of Code 2015. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13.  From K-12, Hour of Code is great for all ages.  Help our DASD students learn the language of computers, the language of “code”.

Get started at

What to-do now?

  • Schedule a date/time with your instructional coach (elementary teachers), IDITs (6-8 teachers), or Suzanne Hanbicki (9-12 school teachers) to help.
  • Schedule with grade-level partners or department members to ensure sufficient devices….Hour of Code is device-agnostic.
  • Talk with your principal regarding logistics.
  • Invite Pat McGlone to take pictures!
  • Secure parent volunteers.
  • Promote the Hour of Code!

Let us know if you plan to participate by sending an email to!

Talk about “Future Ready” Schools tonight #edtechchat

duncanby Kristie Burk

Most Mondays at 8 pm, I participate in the #edtechchat on Twitter, which is a weekly chat about technology in education. Tonight, Arne Duncan, the United States Secretary of Education (until December), will be moderating the discussion on future ready schools. It’s going to be a good conversation, so plan to join us if you’re available!

Monday nights not a good time for you? There are educational Twitter chats all week long.  Check out this great calendar of educational Twitter chat dates and times by Cybraryman.  Note: If you bookmark this page on your phone, you’ll quickly be able to see the chats on any given day.

I hope to “see” you tonight!

Get Your Students to Enter the Doodle 4 Google Contest!

Image by Audrey Zhang

Doodle4Google 2014 National Winner: Audrey Zhang

by Kristie Burk

Do you have any students that love to doodle — and they’re very good at it??  If so, you should encourage them to enter Google’s Doodle4Google contest.

Students from kindergarten to 12th grade can doodle with any materials to show what makes them unique, and the winner’s artwork will be featured on the Google homepage for a day. Students must use the word “google” in a doodle.

State and territory winners will receive an Android tablet.

National finalists will also receive a $5K college scholarship and a trip to Google Headquarters in California.

The National Winner will receive the trip, the tablet, a $30K college scholarship and a $50K education grant for his or her school!

The contest is open until December 7th.  (Check out some past winners.) Good luck!

Website Wednesday: Digital Citizenship Week Resources

havethetalkby Kristie Burk

Have you had “the talk” with your students or your  own children?

Yes, I mean the talk about digital citizenship

October 18-24 is “Digital Citizenship Week.”  If you or the parents of your students are looking for resources, check out this great resource from Common Sense Media. The website includes links for “at home” and “at school;” the “at school” link contains lots of materials from K-12.

Don’t forget to tweet about what you’re doing this week using #havethetalk.

Today is National Day on Writing! #whyIwrite and #whyIwriteLMS

by Kristie Burk

Today is the National Day on Writing sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Lionville Middle School is also celebrating by tweeting out an answer to the question, “Why do I write?”

The school would LOVE to have students, staff, and followers of this blog to tweet their answers to this question.  (There are even some invited some special guests to add to the message trail.)  Take a picture of yourself and include your job title and why you write.  Use #whyiwriteLMS and #whyiwrite in the tweet.

Please take a minute to do it today!

Free WiFi in Downingtown

by Kristie Burk

The other day, a cyber student told me that he had lost his Internet connection at home and asked for some local places that had free WiFi during non-school hours.  Buck Jones, IB CAS/EE Supervisor and STEM Academy Knowledge Commons Supervisor, gave me this great list of local places with free WiFi.

Thorndale Area:

Burger King
WayBack Burgers

Downingtown Borough Area:

Downingtown Library
Downingtown Diner (24 hours)
Barra Rossa Ristorante
Primo Hoagies
Leone’s Pizza
Nice Chinese
Foster Boys

Downingtown (East Caln area) 

King Buffet
P J Whelihan’s

Downingtown East High School Area

Chester County Public Library
Barnes and Noble Booksellers
Taco Maya
Pizzeria Uno
Red Robin

Do you have any that are not listed here? Share them at!