Archive for the ‘roger’ Category

Tue 9/6: Spread too thin?

September 7, 2011 Leave a comment

In an attempt to manage my to-do list tonight, I made a list of the various roles I currently have responsibilities in:

  1. Teaching classes
  2. Managing the Technology Proficiency Program
  3. Overseeing the School Service Program
  4. Creating and printing the Daily Bulletin
  5. Writing and editing for the Sports Information Department
  6. Serving as interim head of the Technology Training Team
  7. Working with my six advisees
  8. Living with the girls in the dorm
  9. Being a good husband and father
  10. Caring for myself

My situation isn’t particularly unusual for the place that I work, or really for any boarding school, I would expect. So does a multi-headed hydra of a job like this ultimately make me stronger overall, or pull me in too many different directions? You be the judge.

Categories: roger, worklife

Mon 8/8: Blogging unit expanded

August 9, 2011 2 comments

I read somewhere that the only way to become a good writer is to write, and the only way to cure writer’s block is to write, so I think I just need to screw my courage to the sticking point and start churning out posts. Part of the problem, I think, is that I look out there at all the other well-established teaching blogs and it seems as if each one of their posts has something profound to say about education. That’s an illusion, I’m sure, but an intimidating one. In any case, the main purpose of this blog was to let me think out loud about my teaching, not to impress people, so it doesn’t matter if things are a little rough around the edges for now.

I’ve started to outline a rough schedule for my CO335 unit on blogging. Here it is:



Unit 1: Blogging



Creating blogs and posts

Homework: Complete intro survey; write blog post #1



Intro to CO335; Setting up a blog site

Homework: Lay out blog page; write blog post #2



Blog do’s & don’ts

Homework: Write blog critique #1 (blog post #3)



Extra blog features

Homework: Write blog critique #2 (blog post #4)



Social survey: blogging
Homework: Write RP #1 (blog post #5)

Sat 7/9: SBG 2.0

July 10, 2011 4 comments

This year, I am definitely going to continue using standards-based grading, but I am going to make a few changes to my grading rubric in an attempt to further distance myself from the traditional 0-100 ABCDF system. Instead of grading each standard from 0-10, I am going to try Marzano’s four-point scale. Here’s my qualitative description from my rubric:




Expert: the student can achieve at a superior level, demonstrating abilities comparable or superior to those of the teacher.


Proficient: the student can achieve at a satisfactory level for the standard.


Developing: the student can accomplish simpler versions of the Proficiency tasks.


Emerging: the student can partially accomplish some of the Proficiency and Satisfactory tasks, but may need extensive help from the teacher.


No evidence of understanding

I’m curious to hear from other teachers who use SBG about what scale they use, and how it affects their students’ performance. As always, any and all feedback about my posts here is appreciated!

Categories: roger, sbar, teaching

Wed 6/29: ISTE report, Day 4

June 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Today was getaway day at ISTE, so there wasn’t as much action as the other two days. After scamming a free hot breakfast from the good folks at Pearson, I headed over to the convention center for the first (and only) panel of the day.

Session 1: The Hero’s Journey: World of Warcraft in the Classroom
This was a very interesting panel put on by Peggy Sheehy, a lady I met at last year’s ISTE conference. She is really big into virtual environments and MMORPGs, and she runs a guild on WoW that I joined shortly after the conference. This panel was about a program she created in collaboration with a school in North Carolina named WoWInSchool. It’s an outreach program for at-risk students that uses World of Warcraft as the backbone for an entire curriculum that teaches math, reading, writing, and other critical thinking skills. The program isn’t really appropriate for my school, but it was fascinating to see how someone could use a game as the centerpiece of a really sound educational pedagogy. My notes: The Hero’s Journey.pdf

After the panel, I spent another hour touring the exposition hall with @auntfun, and then, sadly, it was time for me to close this year’s ISTE conference. It’s a little hard right now to put the whole experience in context — I think that will have to wait a few days until I can look back and reflect on all the panels that I attended. It was really nice to make some new friends early on in the week to have a sense of connection for the rest of the conference.

Categories: colleagues, gaming, iste, roger

Tue 6/28: ISTE report, Day 3

June 28, 2011 1 comment

Overall, I would have to say that today was less insightful and awe-inspiring than yesterday, but there were still some useful nuggets.

Early AM: Expo surfing
I decided to skip the keynote featuring Stephen Covey via pre-recorded video because it didn’t seem like it would be that useful and I figured I could watch the video at my leisure some other time. In the past, ISTE has had some really great speakers, like Malcolm Gladwell and James Surowiecki. This didn’t seem like it would be up to that level, and judging from the comments I heard afterwards, it wasn’t. Instead, I went back to the vendor expo to try to cover some more territory. With only an hour, I was only able to cover about another quarter of the hall. But I did talk to Texas Instruments long enough to determine that they still don’t have a curriculum in place about teaching programming on the nSpire, and talked to the guy at Digipen for long enough to make me wonder what my life would have been like if it had existed 20 years ago.

Session 1: SIGIS Meeting
I’ve attended every annual meeting of SIGIS (the SIG for independent schools) since it formed in 2008 in San Antonio (which, coincidentally, was my first ISTE conference). The group is still in its infancy, and the agenda reflected that. We spent the first half of the meeting just doing meet and greets, and then most of the rest of the meeting hearing a report about what the group had done in the past year since the last conference. I hope that as the group gains momentum, we will turn over more of the time at these meetings to discussion and business. I hope, I hope. No notes to speak of to post here.

My SIGIS meeting was so exciting that I decided to skip the SIGCT meeting and have an excellent lunch with two of my colleagues, @auntfun and @kricekrice. I daresay we spent at least as much time talking about computer teaching at lunch as they did at the meeting.

Session 2: Computational Thinking for Everyone
My original choice, a session on getting faculty to use new technology, got unexpectedly full and closed up on me, so I had to scramble. I decided to fall back on my second choice, a session about computational thinking. Last year I attended another session at ISTE about the same topic, and came away feeling about as befuddled as I was this time. I will probably reserve another whole blog post to talk just about computational thinking, but the short version of my opinion is: they’re not ready. In fairness, I think they realize that. But the CT people still have not really articulated what distinguishes it from the other habits of mind that are already well-established. If their path to mainstream acceptance continues to use the mantra “This is what you’re already doing”, then this movement is will wind up stillborn. Again, no really useful notes to post.

Session 3: Lessons Learned From the Front Lines of 1-1
I called an audible for the last session, since neither of the items I had originally placed in my schedule seemed as interesting as they had in April. I decided to go to another session about 1-1 computing. To be honest, now that I saw the people there, I wonder if I attended the same panel last year. In any case, the ideas seemed fresh to me. And I had a new perspective now after going through the first year of our 1-1 program. I also got the chance to meet the executive director of the Anywhere Anytime Learning Foundation, so that’s a good thing. Most of the panelists’ comments seemed pretty much like common sense, but they had some good answers to my question, which was about how you can increase faculty buy-in to a 1-1 program that is already being implemented. I had a thought that next year we should make 1-1 computing one of the major themes of our faculty technology expo. Here are my notes: Lessons learned from the frontlines of 1-1.pdf

Tomorrow, there will be another few (hopefully) exciting sessions, and then it’s back home to Connecticut!

Sat 5/25: Preparing for ISTE 2011

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Here I am, sitting in a very tiny hotel room in a somewhat sketchy part of Philadelphia, getting ready for another year attending the national conference for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). This will be my fourth conference (the three previous ones being in San Antonio, Washington, and last year in Denver).

Because ISTE includes any use of technology in teaching, the scope of the conference is much broader than just CS education. A lot of the stuff that goes on here doesn’t really relate to what I am doing, but there are always several great workshops that speak to something that I am interested in. This year most of the workshops I’ve tagged seem to relate to using Web 2.0 applications, which will be useful for my new CO335 course.

Here’s my tentative schedule for the next four days:

Categories: CO335, iste, roger, teaching

Wed 6/22: Outline for Digital Citizenship

June 22, 2011 4 comments

I’m redesigning my applications course this summer for a few reasons: (a) after eight years of teaching the same suite, things are feeling pretty stale; and (b) I never really enjoyed teaching it that much in the first place. Instead, I’ve decided to replace it with a new course named “Digital Citizenship”. Here’s the description that I posted in the course catalog:


CO335   Digital Citizenship
This course teaches students how to express themselves effectively and responsibly on the Internet using a variety of current computer-based technologies. Topics covered include blogs, audio and video podcasts, social networking, wikis, microblogging, cloud computing, and web design. In addition to creating content using these tools, students will also study how they are currently being used and their effects on our society.


Currently the course is scheduled for the first semester, which is 12 weeks. I’ve just started fleshing out the basic structure for the semester, but here is my plan thus far:

Dates   Application
  Week 1 Blogging
  Week 2 Microblogging
  Week 3 Social networks
  Week 4 Cloud computing
  Week 5 Wikis
  Week 6 Reassessment
  Week 7 Audio podcasts
  Week 8 Audio podcasts
  Week 9 Video podcasts
  Week 10 Video podcasts
  Week 11 Final project
  Week 12 Final project


Any comments?