Month: September 2016

Overcoming Common Hurdles When You Flip a Lesson

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

The other day when I was visiting Lionville Middle School, I had a good conversation with Jen Hervada, Instructional Coach extraordinaire, on flipping classes. We were discussing some of the concerns that teachers have and ways to overcome those issues.

Take four minutes today to watch this excellent video on overcoming common hurdles when flipping a lesson. The video contains some helpful, concrete tips from Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, co-founders of the Flipped Learning Network. By the way, Aaron Sams will be speaking about flipped learning at the Downingtown Educational Technology Conference on November 12th and it’s not too late to sign up to hear him speak in person!

Website Wednesday: Kaizena

kaizenaby Jen Hervada, Lionville Middle School Instructional Coach

Give students feedback – the easy way!

Imagine having the time to hold a mini-conference with every student about their work.  Kaizena lets you do that and more.

There is a new Google add-on and app that allows teachers to give quick audio feedback to students about their writing and it’s called Kaizena.  The app and web versions are easy to understand, so students and teachers will be excited to use  it.  

Teachers create a group and students join the group through an access code.  Then students upload their work from many different applications including Google docs, Google slides, other types of presentations and more.  Teachers can highlight text and share audio comments, or link a YouTube video as part of a tutorial or extension activity.  Students can use Kaizena to revise their writing or give peer reviews.

Students get the advantage of personalized feedback from you. Research has shown giving quality feedback is one of the most effective teaching practices and Kaizena makes giving feedback easy.

Would you like to learn how to use Kaizena? Schedule an appointment with your instructional coach today!

Food for Thought Friday: How Do Career and Technical Courses Affect Students?

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Blended and Cyber Learning

The daughter of one of my friends attends Downingtown West High School and participates in the Allied Health Science Technology program, which allows twelfth graders to earn classroom and clinical experience in local health care facilities during the school day. Our school district proudly offers our students lots of opportunities for career and technical education while in high school. Unfortunately, there are still people that look down their noses at this type of education, so it was with great interest that I read this study published last April called “Career and Technical Education in High School: Does it Improve Student Outcomes?

Shaun M. Dougherty, an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, examined over 100,000 student records from the Arkansas Research Center to find out what effect Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses had  on students’ lives after high school. The findings are worth noting:

  • The more CTE courses that students took, the more likely they were to graduate high school and to enroll in college the following year.
  • Students who took CTE courses were just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers.
  • Students who took 3 or more CTE courses were 21% (wow!) more likely to graduate from high school when compared to otherwise identical students.
  • Taking a dual-enrollment course where students earned college credit in high school doubled the likelihood that students would enroll in college after high school.
  • Taking CTE courses increased the probability that students would be employed after high school.

Check out the study for yourself and have a little food for thought this weekend!

Website Wednesday: Cult of Pedagogy

By Nicole Stulak, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach

Have you ever wondered if there is a website out there where anyone who teaches (seriously, anyone who teaches anything), can go for everything?

Well, there is…

Today, I bring you Cult of Pedagogy, an online magazine created by Jennifer Gonzalez, speaker, professional learning consultant, coach, self-proclaimed “teacher nerd” and National Board Certified educator, to name a few. Gonzalez has written for Edutopia, created countless resources, including one of my favorite go-to tech guides, The Teacher’s Guide to Tech: A Cult of Pedagogy Digital Binder, and she co-authored with Mark Barnes the ever-popular book Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School.

Gonzalez understands that teaching is truly an art and a science. While teachers are endlessly busy, she is researching new tech tools, reading books on methodology, staying current on research and professional development, all to provide teachers with stories to inspire and the best resources and information to enhance their craft.

What can you find on Cult of Pedagogy? Articles, podcasts, videos, teaching materials and just about anything purposeful, inspiring and research based. Here are a few places to start:

Instruction and Assessment Videos: Check out the Chat Stations and Crumple and Shoot videos. I have tried these strategies with my own students and both received rave reviews!

Teaching Materials: You will find a collection of teaching materials Gonzalez has beautifully created, which include detailed descriptions and links to a variety of tools for any subject or grade. Check out her post on Student-Made E-Books: A Beautiful Way to Demonstrate Learning and look at the list of ways students can demonstrate learning with an e-book! Each design includes a link to the same template set up in Google Slides (yes, I bought the whole bundle once I saw this).

Classroom Management Resources: You may not realize it, but relationship building is considered to be the most powerful tool for classroom management. As students move from elementary school to middle school to high school, building and fostering authentic relationships becomes even more important. Relationship building has proven to help with classroom management and students overall academic growth.  Check out A 4-Part System for Getting to Know Your Students.

You can find countless made-from-scratch videos about technology integration, teaching text structure and even teacher advice on the Cult of Pedagogy YouTube channel too!

Enjoy exploring all there is to offer on Cult of Pedagogy, but beware, once you dig in you may be at your computer for a while!

How SAMR is Like a Starbucks Coffee


By Sara Brosious, DEHS Instructional Coach

Have you heard of SAMR? NO? Ok, neither did I…until Edtech became my sabbatical leave hobby.  SAMR is an acronym that breaks down technology use in education.

We all know and love Bloom’s taxonomy, right?  It helps us to design lessons that push our students toward excellence – through higher order thinking tasks, or at least that is the goal.

So let’s think of SAMR as a model that will help educators to embed digital learning.  The ultimate goal of implementing technology into the classroom is to create and produce new outcomes that are otherwise impossible.



Allow me  to break SAMR down for you.  Imagine that you are at Starbucks.  


This is the basic level of tech integration….the plain old coffee with a bit of cream and sugar.  In tech terms, you are switching out one way of doing something for another, and the resulting outcome is the same.   The same thing in a new way.  Pretty much the same old joe.


At this point, the digital tool is able to push the task beyond the basic level.  It gives the user a tool that makes the task easier.  Imagine your coffee with a little whipped cream — the coffee is still coffee…just better.


This is the level where the good stuff starts to happen.  The digital tool enhances the lesson to the point where student creation.  Modification is asking students to do a different kind of task.  Our coffee has been customized to become a new product -like a caramel macchiato.


The task that we are providing our students is completely transformed.  The digital tool is making the assignment a project that would be inconceivable without the technology.

The coffee is now a Starbucks creation – a signature drink that only can be enjoyed at Starbucks…think a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a Frappuccino.

Here are six common tasks applied to the SAMR Model:


Want help implementing SAMR?  Reach out to your building’s instructional coach.

Because we can “STOP, COLLABORATE, & LISTEN.”