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The 3rd Annual EdTechTeam Victoria Summit Featuring Google for Education by Barbara Brunell

posted Jan 12, 2018, 10:59 AM by Diana Salda–a

The first thing I noticed when I arrived to Victoria was even though there was cold weather the warmth of their people made me feel welcomed. The Google Summit launched with a keynote by Jesse Lubinsky who talked about students being heroes in disguise without even realizing it. The most meaningful part for me was listening to his first hand stories on empowering students by working on their passion projects.

I dedicated the rest of the day to learn more about the power of inquiry, essential questions and project based learning. I reinforced the importance of having genuine interest in the students. They will give their best effort when working on things they are devoted to. I reflected on my own classroom and my student’s drive on what they want to learn and how can I translate their questions into knowledge, how can they take the lead on their own learning.  

On the second and last day of the summit I attended sessions that were focused on Google Apps and their benefits in and out the classroom.  Jeffery Heil talked about how Google Earth can support the classroom learning. As soon as I came back to ASFM I talked to my colleagues about the app and we used it to explore Africa and its animals for our wild animals unit. Students were amazed to travel that far away without leaving the classroom. Some other apps that I learned how to use more efficiently in education are: Google Keep, Quick, Draw!, Google Arts & Culture, Google Expeditions, Google Trends, among others.

My biggest takeaway of this experience was realizing that we are in this profession to build a better tomorrow. Technology can be a great tool when listening to student voices, honoring their needs and widening their spectrum come all together to provide meaningful learning situations.


posted Dec 14, 2017, 10:28 AM by Douglas Frankish   [ updated Dec 14, 2017, 10:29 AM ]

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a competitive program developed to encourage the exploration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The FLL challenges students to research and develop an innovative solution to a real-world problem. In addition to the challenge, students compete against other schools using LEGO Mindstorms technology, which they have designed, built, and programmed. All along, students abide by and work to develop the FLL's prescribed Core Values. This is the first year ASFM has participated in the FIRST LEGO League, and we currently have four teams, two in the elementary and two in the middle school. While we have yet to compete, students have been working on the 3 components designed by the FIRST LEGO League.

Core Values
In order to provide students with a chance to get to know each other, participate in some team building, and work on developing the Core Values, all four teams took a trip to Warica. Warica is a ropes course in the Huasteca Canyon, where a custom designed experience was created to help students learn about each other and learn how to work together. Activities ranged from students introducing themselves, maneuvering through a high ropes course, collaboratively passing a ball down PVC pipes, and moving simultaneously on an enlarged set of skis, students had the opportunity to develop and understand each of the 8 FIRST LEGO League Core Values:
  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don't have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!

This year the project theme for all participants is hydrodynamics. Students are encouraged to think like engineers and scientists to improve how people find, transport, use, or dispose of water. Our elementary teams are still in the exploration and learning phase of the project. Students have watched videos and explored current problems about how people find and transport water, doing their best to focus specifically on Monterrey. Some brainstorming has occurred in the form of sketches in order to try to design solutions to these problems. The end goal for the project is for students to create a way to share their innovative prototype with others. The presentation will be live and may contain posters, models, multimedia clips, props and costumes. Creativity and intentionality of the presentation are key.

Robot Game

YouTube Video

The robot game contains 18 different missions (challenges) that students must program a LEGO Mindstorm robot to autonomously complete. Each mission is built from a 2,500 LEGO kit and placed onto the playing field. This week the elementary students at ASFM have built the missions and are working on their coding/programming skills to complete each challenge. This has been a huge area of learning, as team members are developing skills to program the robots that contains two motors and multiple sensors. They are currently making the transition from programming the robot on the robot manually to using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Programmer app on an iPad. These are both tricky and impressive learning experiences for third, fourth and fifth graders to achieve.

As ASFM's FLL teams continue to learn and improve throughout the season, we will continue to document and share updates. 

Hour of Code 2017

posted Nov 30, 2017, 12:40 PM by Diana Salda–a


Can you believe it's been five years already? This is the fifth year of the Hour of Code. During the week of December 4-10, students and teachers are encouraged to spend some time to learn to code and join millions of students from around the world.

Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet. But fewer than half of all schools teach computer science. Good news is, we’re on our way to change this! If you've heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code.

With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo!, and Disney. Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement. Every Apple Store in the world has hosted an Hour of Code, and leaders like President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote their first lines of code as part of the campaign.

This year, let's make it even bigger. I’m asking you to join the Hour of Code 2017. Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 4-10.

Spend some time with your students or try the Hour of Code yourself—everyone can benefit from learning the basics.

Get started at http://hourofcode.com/us

Don't forget to share what you and your students are doing and include the hashtags #HourOfCode #AsfmLearns

Happy coding!

The ReDesign of Science Labs

posted Nov 14, 2017, 7:23 AM by Brian Hamm   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 7:33 AM ]

Include gadget (iframe)

Interested in how #Design of learning spaces can act as a @ThirdTeacher ?Check out "The ReDesign of Science Labs"

The Story of the ReDesign of a Computer Lab

posted Nov 14, 2017, 6:51 AM by Brian Hamm   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 7:34 AM ]

How can #Design impact the learner experience? Check out "The ReDesign of a Computer Lab" #ASFMLearns #DesignInstitute 

The Story of the Redesign of 4A

posted Nov 14, 2017, 6:46 AM by Brian Hamm   [ updated Nov 14, 2017, 7:36 AM ]

Interested in what purposeful design of learning spaces looks like?
Check out The Story of the Redesign of a 4th grade classroom #ASFMLearns 

Google Summit Colorado by Kait Hogan and Kris-Anne Steele

posted Nov 10, 2017, 6:45 AM by Brian Hamm

This has been a PD opportunity that I have wanted to experience for the last couple years.  I have found the more I learn using Google and that Add-ons, Extensions and Apps, the easier and more productive my days are inside the classroom.  This summit brought together educators with similar experiences and feelings about Google and the possibilities it brings to a classroom.  In the sessions, I learned many new things, but I was also able to share my insight and experiences.  In each session, I was able to find a connection to what we are doing here at ASFM and I was also able to say we could be doing that at ASFM.  I have come back from Colorado with a plethora of new ideas and things to try in my classroom.  Ideas from flipping my classroom using a video-editing extension, to using Google Forms for assessments in math classes with the help of the extension EquatIO, to simply cleaning up my Gmail inbox and making my day a little less stressful not being overwhelmed by unread emails.  This was an amazing opportunity and I encourage ALL teachers to attend at least one of these summits, no matter your level of Google-iness.  I am already looking forward to the next summit I get to attend. 

- Kait Hogan

Google Summit Workshops Summary

GAFE Audit Summary of Changes

posted Oct 31, 2017, 1:58 PM by Brian Hamm   [ updated Oct 31, 2017, 1:59 PM ]


A GAFE Audit provided us with an in-depth review of our GAFE domain by industry experts, Amplified IT, against best practices. Each setting was documented and analyzed including the integration with other IT systems, tests of compliance, and evaluation of the effectiveness of current usage of GAFE offerings.

The focus of the GAFE Audit was split into a review of four key areas:

Google Suite App

Scheduled Change:

additional google services.jpg

Google Additional Services

Services to be Turned ON:

Chrome Management

Chrome Web Store

Fusion Tables (experimental)

Google Bookmarks

Google Books

Google Chrome Sync

Google Custom Search

Google Finance

Google in Your Language

Google News

Google Public Data

Google Takeout

Google Translator Toolkit

Web & App Activity

To be turned on for MSHS Teachers and Students:



Turned on for Teachers only:

Google Analytics
Google Groups: See Groups for more details
Google Photos

Marketplace Applications


CloudLock Apps Firewall

CloudLock for Google Apps


Doc To Form



Easy Accents

Form Publisher





g(Math) for Forms

g(Math) for Sheets


General Audit Tool


Lucidchart Diagrams

Pear Deck

PowerSchool Learning

Texthelp Study Skills


Yet Another Mail Merge

GSuite Training

Google Calendar

  • Default setting changed for creating calendars to “Only free/busy information.”

Google Classroom

  • All Faculty will be a group to pre-approve teachers for Google Classroom.

Google Contact

  • No major changes

Google Drive

  • Drive - Access Checker:

  • When a user shares a file via a Google product other than Docs or Drive (for example, by pasting a link in Gmail), Google will ask the user to pick if they want to share the file to:  “Recipients only,”

Google Mail

  • Labs provide extra functionality. Advanced Labs Management enables the ability to turn on labs for all users, control the use of these experimental labs and will stop new labs from being used and causing unnecessary support calls.

Google Hangouts

  • Hangouts Chat Only for all users to ensure greater functionality, service parity and the ability to force Chat History to ON to ensure that Chat History is recorded in Google Vault.  

  • Sharing Options - Warn users when chatting outside the domain.

  • Talk/Hangouts - All users can chat outside of the domain.

Google Groups

  • Staff/students are allowed to create groups with a  suffix added to them to clearly mark them as a user-created group. @groups.asfm.edu.mx

Google Sites

  • Sharing Settings: Newly created sites default to private.


  • Turning ON this service for Staff to allow education-based social networking.

  • Student users must be age 13 or older to use this service.

  • Sharing Posts: Default setting for new posts is restricted.

  • Profile discoverability: set to OFF

  • Edit name: Set to OFF.

File:Google Chrome icon (2011).svg - Wikimedia Commons


  • Change to Never allow use of Password Manager

  • Change to: “Never show the ‘show password button’”

  • Student Incognito mode to be disabled.

  • Safe browsing enabled by default.

  • Enable Restricted mode

  • Bookmark Manager: Useful bookmarks can be pushed automatically to a user’s bookmark bar.

TriConf 2017 - My Takeaways

posted Oct 18, 2017, 1:04 PM by Diana Salda–a

It's been a week or so since I came back from Costa Rica where I attended the 36th Annual Educators' Conference. I had the opportunity to listen to inspiring keynotes, participate in a pre-conference session led by the legendary Michael Fullan, attend a number of concurrent sessions, and also present my own session that focused on facilitating virtual field trips.

Great personalities delivered the keynotes: Michael FullanAllison Zmuda and Heidi Hayes Jacob, and Douglas Fisher. However, throughout the conference I felt I was hearing the same things over and over. In a good way I mean! So, using the notes I took from all of these sessions, I created this word cloud using Wordle. This way I could quickly see what were the main ideas discussed throughout the event.

This is the word cloud based on my tweets during the event:

Taking the top words that appeared in the word clouds, I related them to each of the sessions or keynotes that I attended or presented. This is the resulting web. (Actually, I think everything connects to everything.)

My main takeaway from the conference is learning about the importance of establishing solid relationships between teachers and students, before embarking on any new initiative, in order to make the most impact on student learning.

To learn more about the conference, follow the hashtag #TriConf17 on Twitter.


Intentional Social Media Use at #TriConf17

posted Oct 16, 2017, 12:41 PM by Douglas Frankish   [ updated Oct 16, 2017, 12:44 PM ]

As a presenter and attendee of the annual Tri-Association Educators’ Conference for the past couple years, the 2017 conference in Costa Rica introduced an exciting additional component- an intentional implementation of social media. While many conferences around the world have well developed hashtags and digital components, this was an area of opportunity for enhancement at the Tri-Association Conference.

In past years, you would often find the same 10-15 people Tweeting links and sharing ideas, and that was about it. Generally speaking, it only happened during the days of the conference, rather than as a continuous collaboration throughout the remainder of the year. This year proved different. First, Silvia Tolisano was on board with the mission of encouraging the use of social media throughout the 3 day learning experience. She spoke to the attendees, following a keynote presentation, about the power of social media and its benefits for collaborative learning. She then introduced two powerful tools that would be used throughout the conference in order to encourage the use of social media in a positive and intentional manner: Twitter and GooseChase.

The Twitter hashtag #TriConf17 was introduced and demonstrated to show how the hashtag can be used to aggregate and curate the resources and ideas shared throughout the conference. After the promotion and understanding that we would all be using a consistent hashtag, it was clear the explanation proved effective. Based on my experience, it’s easy to say (and see) that this was the busiest year the Tri-Association Conference had on Twitter. In addition, a Storify was also created for the conference- to bring content containing the #TriConf17 hashtag together from other other social media platforms outside of Twitter.

GooseChase was the other fun and engaging tool introduced this year. This free mobile app creates a mixture of physical and digital components in the form of a scavenger hunt. This tool created a sense of community, learning, and healthy competition. The entire attendee community was divided into teams based on the country they were representing at the conference. There were a series of challenges, each attached to a valued number of points- and countries were encouraged to complete these challenges throughout the days of the conference. Updates were given as teams completed challenges and it added a great sense of fun- and maybe a little bit of anxiety (the good kind). Challenge examples ranged from sharing your favorite educator blog to actually writing a blog post and sharing it (this is that example!). Others challenges included created a human pyramid, organizing and documenting a flashmob, and taking selfies with people you met and plan on collaborating with (example below).

Overall, the addition of the digital and social media component at the 36th Annual Educators’ Conference created a new sense of learning and community- that will hopefully continue through the year… and onto next years conference in the Dominican Republic!

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