Food for Thought Friday: How Artists See Their Dyslexia

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Degas

When we do not have a particular disability, it is sometimes difficult to imagine what it must feel like for a person who does. For example, one of my sisters has dyslexia. Although it hasn’t stopped her from earning her PhD in Nursing and becoming a professor, I know that it has been a constant struggle. She tries to explain what it’s like, but I have a hard time imagining.

That is why I’ve been fascinated by this article from NPR called “Finding Words in Paint: How Artists See Dyslexia.”  To see how these artists express their own struggles with Dyslexia through their art is eye-opening. It’s worth checking out this weekend and maybe even sharing with someone you know.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Using Common Apps and Websites for New Uses

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Blended and Cyber Learning

Last week I attended the Future of Education Technology Conference.  I learned so much from this conference that it will take me weeks just to go through all my notes!

One of the things I quickly noticed at the conference was how educators are using common technology tools in new and innovative ways. For example, I met Mike Meechin at the conference, principal of Poinciana High School in Kissimmee, FL.  In his school of 1200+ students, 71% are eligible for free and reduced lunch and he has struggled with a high absentee rate.

Meechin decided to use the Remind app in a new and innovative way.  Any student with significant absences was enrolled in a special Remind account.  Starting at 5:30 am, the students would start receiving Remind text messages to get them out of bed.  (Meechin says that he usually sneaks in an inspirational message in the wake-up texts as well.) He says they would usually send 2-3 message for the next 90 minutes.

Amazingly, this innovative use of Remind increased the attendance of these students by 60%!

Do you have an innovative use of an app or website? Let us know at dtowntechchat.wordpress.com!



ISTE Standards for Students


by Sara Brosious, Downingtown East High School Instructional Coach

What are the ISTE Standards for EdTech Integration?

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) created standards for students that outline the skills students need to thrive in a digital environment.  The standards are designed to prepare students to be future-ready for citizenship in a digital society.  The standards are intended to help educators to provide student-centered learning experiences and “ensure that learning is a student-driven process of exploration, creativity and discovery no matter where they or their teachers are in the thoughtful integration of ed tech.”  

You can view the ISTE standards and their descriptions here.

Schoology Improves Document Viewer

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

At the end of December, Schoology quietly released enhancements to its Document Viewer on the web. These changes improve the way that students view any file you’ve uploaded directly to Schoology.  Additionally, the way that you view students’ assignment submissions on the web and in the native iOS and Android apps have been improved.

You can watch this video for a demonstration of the new look and features:

Have your students create a sociogram #antiworksheet

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning


Instead of having your students answer questions in a worksheet…


…ask them to create a sociogram.  A sociogram is a specific type of graphic organizer that maps relationships between people.  It can demonstrate the connections between people – both the obvious and the subtle.

Sociograms can be created with pen or paper, but there are also some digital tools that help create one, such as Popplet.

There are many uses for a sociogram.  Teachers can use them to demonstrate relationships among characters in a book or to show how historical figures are connected. The Teaching Tolerance website even has a lesson using sociograms to help students understand how they interact — or don’t interact — with their classmates.

Ask your students to write their own blogs #antiworksheet

by Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

Instead of asking students to answer questions on a worksheet…

…ask them to write their own blogs.  Even young children can write their own blogs! Reading and writing online could be considered a skill that students will need in the future, so writing their own blogs encourages students to do both.  Plus, they get to share their writing with an authentic audience.

There are many resources for students who want to blog.  Our students in grades 6-12 have a blogging feature built right into Schoology.  Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use it:

Teachers can also look at some of these other options for student blogging, keeping safety and age-appropriateness in mind:


And if you’re just too busy this week to think about blogging, you can find this great list of 50 ideas for student blogging and writing online from the Edublogger.

Ask your students to record themselves solving problems #antiworksheet

8622645342.pngby Kristie Burk, DASD Coordinator of Cyber and Blended Learning

Instead of asking your students to complete a worksheet…

…ask them to record themselves solving a problem. For example, math teachers could assign a problem to a student or to a group of students.  The students would use their device’s cameras to record themselves solving the problem. They could then upload the video to a Schoology assignment or elementary students could upload them to a shared Google folder. To take the assignment one step further, teachers could also ask students to review each other’s videos and to provide feedback. This technique could work for other subject areas as well!