Tuesday, March 10, 2015

37 New Google Educators at Leyden

For the past 5+ years, Leyden High School District 212 teachers and students have been using Google Apps for Education.  In 2012-2013, when the district went 1:1 by issuing Chromebooks to all 3,400 students, the Google Apps tools quickly took center stage and started a transformation that permeated the district's teaching and learning environment.  Recently, I learned that a number of educators at the West Leyden campus decided to take their knowledge of the powerful suite to the next level.  Led by librarian Janine Asmus and instructional tech coach Todd Veltman, 34 certified staff and 1 administrator started meeting in mid-November and formed a study/support group to take on the challenge of becoming certified Google Educators.  They met a number of times during their lunch periods to learn together and quiz each other on the information needed to pass the series of tests to become certified.  The requirements for becoming a Google Educator include passing the four core exams (Gmail, Calendar, Sites, and Docs and Drive) and one elective exam (Chrome Browser, Chromebooks, Google Play for Education, or Android Tablets for Education).  Together, the motivated and courageous teachers put in their time, did the studying, and worked toward their goal.  After passing the four core exams, they invited me to their last meetings to help them learn more about the Chromebook management configurations and settings before tackling the last exam that stood between them and their certifications.  I am thrilled to announce that they completed that exam yesterday and have fulfilled the requirements to become certified Google Educators.  It is with some serious #leydenpride that I'd like to congratulate the following Leyden teachers on becoming documented experts of the tools they use everyday with their students to transform education and hope this begins a trend for other teachers to follow.  I’d really enjoy hearing from these teachers in the comments as to why they embarked on this journey and what they learned from it.

AdmininstrationModern LanguagesSpecial Education
Andrew SharosKojo ClarkeMarianna DeFillppis
Anne GruettnerSonja Kosanovic
Business EducationCatherine O' RourkeRyan McSherry
Michael HaworthKristen Navar
Shannon O'ConnorMusicKatie Talsma
Bryan MillerRick Van Roeyen
Family & Consumer Sciences
Valarie BergerPhysical EducationStudent Services
Laurie FossByron BenionKarin Dewey
Kevin BrockwayMarijana Uremovic
LiteracyWilliam CordtsJavier Vasquez
Jane HyinkJoe Fezzuoglio
Kara KennedyStudent Supports
Jennifer LazarScienceJanine Asmus
Jamie LitzhoffJulie Krueger
MathTodd Veltman
Jeremy BabelSocial Studies
Marian VolenecFrank Diebold
Matt YoungChristopher Lange
Sandie Leonard
Kevin Pluchar
Lisa Ripley

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Leyden at the 2015 ICE Conference

Here is a list of the presentations that Leyden faculty are running at the 2015 ICE Conference:

Title: Using Technology in The Physics Classroom - The Do's and Don'ts (workshop)
Presenters: Joe Ruffolo and Todd Veltman
Date: Tuesday, February 24
Time: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Room: TBA

Title: Empowering Student Voice
Presenters: Andrew Sharos and Leyden students
Date: Thursday, February 26
Time: 11:00-11:45 am
Room: Main Stage Amphitheater

Title: Panel Discussion - Thinking about going 1:1? Get strategies, best practices, and policies that have worked for these successful districts that have gone 1:1 with iPads, Chromebooks, and Android Tablet devices.
Presenter: Panel including Bryan Weinert
Date: Thursday, February 26
Time: 2:45-3:30 PM
Room: Augusta I/II

Title: Women in Technology
Presenter: Amy Gorzynski
Date: Friday, February 27
Time: 10:00-10:45 AM
Room: Salon III

Title: The Online Learning Environment
Presenter: Eric McFadden
Date: Friday, February 27
Time: 2:45-3:30 PM
Room: Sapphire

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

More Great Updates to EDpuzzle

I just received the following email from EDpuzzle about some new updates:

Short email to share a few improvements that we built in EDpuzzle this week: 

- Upload image. Add an image to your questions directly from your laptop or tablet. 

- Full screen mode for students.  Students can have a better experience focusing, just on the video-lesson. 

- Android users: "Chrome browser + Full screen = Awesome results". It's almost like an App.

Video-summary (90seconds): http://quick.as/5BkAczv8

Have a great day and let us know if there is anything else we can do.

Kind regards,


And here's an email from a few weeks ago:

Short email to explain the new improvements in EDpuzzle:

1. New landing page: easier for the students and teachers.

2. New editing page: Clean, beautiful and easy to use. Everything is saved automatically and you can drag and drop the questions.

Here is a short video that gives you a quick tour through the new improvements: http://quick.as/31qzupqe

Give it a try and share it with other teachers! The more the merrier! :)

Have a wonderful weekend,


I still think EDpuzzle is one of the greatest free tools that teachers can use for teaching and learning.  I even think there could be some value for professional development opportunities and plan to try it out for that purpose.  Here are links to me previous posts about EDpuzzle:



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merge Table Cells In Google Docs Now Available

I've been waiting for this one for a long time and it's finally available.  You can now merge cells inside tables in Google Docs.  After inserting a table, simply highlight the cells you want to merge, right-click on the selected cells (2-finger click on Chromebooks) or choose the Table menu, and choose Merge Cells.  Let the custom formatting begin!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

No Tech Can Revolutionize Education, Just Relationships

Earlier this morning, while reading a post on the te@chthought blog, I learned about the video This Will Revolutionize Education recently posted on the Veritasium YouTube channel.  I really enjoyed the video and agree with most of the points made, especially the statement "The job of a teacher is not to deliver information. It is to guide the social process of learning. The job of a teacher is to inspire, to challenge, to excite their students to want to learn."

There is no single tool, application, or other technology that will ever revolutionize education.  It will always be about relationships.  The relationships between the students and their teachers, between students and their peers, between the educators and their colleagues, and between all the stakeholders and the leadership.  I wholeheartedly believe that the district I work for gets this and that is one of the many reasons that moving to a 1:1 teaching and learning environment over two years ago has found so much success at Leyden.  Because it's not about the tools.  It's about relationships.

One topic not covered in the video, that I have certainly witnessed at Leyden over the past 2+ years, is how effectively used technology can foster those ever important relationships and improve the guidance of the "social process of learning".  Our 1:1 environment has connected everyone far beyond what can be accomplished in a single 50-minute class period or 7-hour school day.  From the always available digital presence of a class in our content learning system to simple email communications, everyone is connected to information, resources, and each other.  In addition, the synchronous and asynchronous collaborative tools that we all use provides an opportunity for everyone to be a part of the process of learning and working instead of evaluators and reviewers of products.

While no single technology can revolutionize education, the collection of effectively integrated technologies can certainly strengthen relationships and maybe, just maybe, that will lead to a revolution.

Here's the video:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Proud To Be A Public District On The List

It was a real honor to find Leyden High School District 212 on Tom Vander Ark's (@tvanderark) 100 Schools Worth Visiting post on GettingSmart.com today.  What I am most proud of is that Leyden is one of the few truly public school districts on this list.  That is a huge testament to the Leyden Board of Education, the administration, the faculty, staff, community, and most certainly the student body.  We are now in our third year being fully 1:1 with all 3.400 students getting issued Dell Chromebooks and have been happy to share our story with thousands of educators around the country by way of opening our doors for site visits, hosting a 3-day 1:1 summer symposium each of the last two summers (and doing it again next summer), participating in webinars, sharing at conferences, and much more.

I have been attempting to archive as many resources as I can remember to add to the 1:1 at Leyden page on this blog.  You can also access this list using bit.ly/Leyden1to1Resources.  I hope you find something there that helps and please feel free to reach out with questions.  I am always happy to share and learn from others, as well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Shade Alternate Rows in Google Sheets

A few days ago I learned about shading alternate rows in a Google Sheet using the =ISEVEN(ROW()) formula in the Conditional Formatting tool from the Digital Inspiration blog: How to Color Alternate Rows in Google Sheets.

I followed the steps and put together a screencast: