App Slam 020: @flippitynet @pinterest @google Tour Builder

We wanted to round out the year with an even 20 in the app slam department.  These were some recommendations for people to check out over the summer.
We’re going to be making some major changes to our app slams for next year (shorter, better editing…thanks, Colchester Middle School kids for that inspiration, a little bit more complete….we listen!).
This week’s apps:
From Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp, Pinterest is “a place where people can go to get ideas for any project or interest in their life. As you’re creating a board on Pinterest, other people can get inspiration from your ideas, so there’s this cycle where what you’re creating for yourself also helps other people…”

Google Tour Builder

Tour Builder is a new way to show people the places you’ve visited and the experiences you had along the way using Google Earth. It lets you pick the locations right on the map, add in photos, text, and video, and then share your creation.
Easily turn a Google Spreadsheet into a Set of Online Flashcards and Other Cool Stuff

Rockets and Fourth Graders: The Power of Tradition #hackingleadership

So the other day I ended up at Underhill Central School and had planned to spend about a half an hour at their annual Rocket Day celebrations.  I have great memories of this day from when I was the principal at UCS.  It’s one of those traditions that was there when I arrived and it may have, admittedly, taken me a while to understand the power of the event.
I thought I would be there for about a half an hour, catch some pictures, watch some rockets and then wander on down the road to my next appointment.  The launches, led by @baronucs and #therealpattidanis, weren’t going that well.  The equipment used for launches is original, by that I mean that I don’t think new equipment has been used for many years.  It took us over an hour to launch only six rockets.  That isn’t great with a crowd and kids waiting with rockets.
Rather than head off for my appointment, I decided to stay there and see it through. I wanted to add some support but more than that it felt important to see it through all the way. You see when you are a part of a tradition you can allow yourself to get swept up in it, enjoy it, appreciate the weight of the history behind it.  I watched those third-grade helpers with their fourth-grade buddies and almost every single one of them talked about how they were going to launch their rocket next year when they are fourth graders.  Sometimes we forget that even though we see an event or tradition over and over again, it doesn’t matter because tradition is bigger than us.  It’s about the collective us.
It ended up being one of my favorite days of the year…and one of the best sunburns of my life.

Curriculum Vlog 008: A Dirty Lens and Great Reflections #hackingleadership

This was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in a while, with four out of the five days spent entirely on the road.  I will admit I was beat by the end of the week; however, that’s the same for everyone this time of year.
It was a great week to look back on and reflect a bit. Although the school year is coming to an end, we’re gearing up for next year.  Many of the things that happened this week in curriculum land were intentionally focused on setting up for success next year.   I learned a lot thinking about how I would do some things differently in the future, made note of some new strategies to consider around communication and what’s implied by certain communication methods.
Along with those kinds of hearty reflections, I had the chance to visit some amazing learning experiences for scholars and some fun schoolwide traditions that pop up this time of the school year.  All in all, a great week.

Student Futurists Predict the Future…and Stuff #hackingleadership

This was a great experience.  I was invited to a Futurist Convention where students took a topic of interest and tried to predict 20 years out in that topic (much more difficult than you would think…try it in your head right now with any given topic).   The biggest bonus for me was that these were former students of mine from my principal days at RES.  It was fun to see where they have come, where they hope to be…all that stuff.
And on top of that I actually learned a lot about the future of certain things that I’ve never thought about!!?!?!?!

App Slam 019: Connections @Robergecms @lucidpress @google @befunky @canva @knotablehq

When we started the year doing these app slam videos we had a few very simple goals:
1. introduce new tools to our learning community (and beyond)
2. introduce ourselves to our learning community so people would know us as a resource
3. find as many useful things for teachers and students as possible
One of the things we didn’t anticipate was the amount of connections that came from the experience.
Recently we had the HONOR of being invited to host an App Slam with students from Colchester Middle School, a school in a neighboring district.
We, of course, jumped at that opportunity.
Some people might wonder why we would do this at another school and the answer is simple…to continue to connect with other educators and students to learn as much as possible!  Every connection made is a resource, an ally, a collaborator and a chance to learn.  Just in our short visit we learned about apps that we didn’t know from students that are ACTUALLY USING THEM in their learning experiences.  That’s extremely powerful for our above goals.  We learned a bunch more about video too (always learning) and we’ve made a connection with a great educator (@Robergecms).  It’s awesome.
Apps Reviewed:
BeFunky Photo Editor

Easily touch up, enhance, and add graphics to your photos.


Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, infographics, flyers, posters, invitations and more.

Knotes Chrome Extension

Knotes is a beautiful and simple note taking extension for Chrome from the makers of Knote. Now you can keep all of your thoughts in one easy to access place both online and off! Once you can sync your knotes, you can view them in Knote, Dropbox, or Gmail.

New Google Sites

Thinking of creating a website? Google Sites is a free and easy way to create and share webpages.


Lucidpress is a web-based drag and drop publishing app, enabling anyone to create stunning content for print and digital.

Google Keep

Google Keep. Google Keep is a note-taking service. Google Keep is available on the web, and has mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Keep offers a variety of tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio.

#Vermonters Playing Vermonters in #Vermont for Vermonters (A.K.A.students connecting with history!) #hackingleadership

On Monday I was invited to visit a fourth-grade “wax museum” which in itself is just the most awesome invitation you’ll ever get, but there was something beyond the incredible learning that came up during the visit.
In talking with the teachers they mentioned how next year they’re going to make sure to plan in such a way that they can reach out to all the living figures represented.  We live in a small enough state that we can easy ask Senators, authors, and other figures to visit during an event like this.  In fact, many were coming to this event and still, others were invited but weren’t sure about their availability.  Watching students connect with the figure that they researched and to see the power in that interaction is something incredible and something we should definitely take advantage of whenever possible.
It doesn’t hurt to ask!?