Website Wednesday: Smore

By Jackie Longan, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach

smoreDo you love sending a weekly newsletter home to parents?  Enjoy reading a monthly bulletin from your amazing literacy specialists while you sip a cup of tea?  Have you ever considered creating your own?

Well, www.smore.com is your one-stop-shop for a simple or bedazzled newsletter or bulletin creator.  It has easy to edit templates and options to add links and videos. Unlike paper newsletters, Smore has an analytics page to show you how many people have viewed your newsletter, how long they spent viewing it and how many clicked on the links!   Smore also manages your mobile views, so the newsletters and flyers look good, regardless of the device the viewers are using.




Monday Mentions: Bloomz at Lionville Elementary

by Nicole Stulak, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach

Today’s “Monday Mentions” features Elaine Guyer, an Elementary Technology Innovator and first-grade teacher at Lionville Elementary. Mrs. Guyer is no stranger to implementing technology in her classroom. However, she has been quite creative with her use of technology with her first graders, especially when it comes to connecting home and school through an all-encompassing communication app called Bloomz.

Mrs. Guyer discovered Bloomz as a way to increase engagement, create digital portfolios of student work, schedule meetings and share what is happening at school with parents and family members at home.

The app has several features that engage parents and keep communication open between your classroom and the families that support you:

  • FREE App
  • Private and secure communication to parents/families
  • Updates can be sent through email for those who do not wish to sign up for Bloomz
  • Ability to document projects and build a digital portfolio of student work
  • Classroom behavior component
  • Schedule and confirm conferences
  • Content translation is available in many languages

Video Link about how Bloomz Works:

If you want to learn more about integrating technology into your teaching and learning, or would like to discuss how to extend learning and open the lines of communication with families, reach out to your Instructional Coach to set up a collaborative meeting.

Food for Thought Friday: What Actually Works in EdTech?

by Sara Brosious, Downingtown East Instructional Coach

We spend a lot of time, money and effort to incorporate educational technology into our schools.  But what does current research say about what actually works in Ed Tech?

Tom Murray, the 2017 “Thought Leader of the Year” from Future Ready Schools, shared what current research is saying about effective technology integration in a 10-minute teacher podcast.

Some highlights of his talk:

  1. Learning must be interactive. Students cannot just read or watch online.
  2. Technology should be used to explore, design, and create. (Think production and not consumption.)
  3. Teachers are the most important aspect of effective technology integration.

What is the number one thing that doesn’t work? Putting worksheets online!

Click here to hear the entire podcast.


By Jackie Longan, DASD K-5 Instructional Coach

cs unplugged

The need to have all of our students effectively utilizing various forms of technology has never been greater.  Even our youngest learners require the understanding of how to use an iPad, a skill we may take for granted.  Sometimes, starting without the iPad or computer is the best place to start!  The same is true for learning how to program: students can experience the kinds of questions and challenges that computer scientists experience, but without having to learn programming first.

If you’re intersted in learning more, check out the website Computer Science Unplugged. Sponsored in part by Google, this website has a huge collection of FREE hands-on, engaging learning activities about computer science that students can participate in without the use of a iPad or computer. Students learn through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of hands-on experience.


Tech Tip Tuesday: Screencast with iOS 11

by Kristie Burk, Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

One of the best new features in iOS 11 (and one of the most helpful for educators) is the ability to use your iPhone or iPad to screencast.

To activate the screencasting feature, do the following:

  1. Go to the Control Center.
  2. Click on Customize Controls.
  3. Click on the + sign next to Screen Recording.

When you swipe up from the bottom of your screen, you can tap the screen recording button as shown here:


You can also activate your microphone if you’d like to add sound. When the red bar appears at the top of your screen, it’s recording. You can tap it again to end the recording and to save to your camera roll.  Here is an example of a finished product:

screenrecording pic



Food for Thought Friday: Will Teachers Be Replaced by Computers?

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

Whenever you discuss the future of employment, someone will always mention how everything will become automated! Even pizza is being cooked by robots in some parts of the country.  With the advent of blended and cyber learning, many teachers may wonder if they’ll be replaced by a computer someday?  And what other jobs are vulnerable?

This interesting chart by Bloomberg shows the probability of your job being automated…and some of the information might surprise you.  The entire chart gives some good food for thought on this long weekend!

BYOD in the Workplace

by Kathryn Meyers, Downingtown STEM Academy Instructional Coach

As our district gets its first full year of 1:1 or BYOD (bring your own device) in grades 6 – 12 underway, there’s no doubt that both teachers and students face challenges. Whether or not you’re a fan of the initiative, it seems it’s here to stay and, in fact, may be yet another way we prepare students for life beyond high school and college.

More and more companies are implementing BYOD policies that allow workers to use whatever computer or phones they’d like.  Companies report huge advantages as well as significant downfalls to company BYOD initiatives.  Whether we focus on the pros and cons of BYOD in classrooms or workplaces, it’s clear that with the power that constant connectivity allows, comes great responsibility. For more information, check out this article on the challenges of a BYOD policy.