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Thur. Program Descriptions


Thursday, May 19, 2011


Welcome & Opening Remarks        8:30 – 8:45


Keynote                                             8:45 – 9:45


A Vermont Technology Business’s Success Story:

Did School Matter?

Steve Arms


Innovation and creativity are key elements in the success story of most businesses today. This presentation reviews the birth of a Vermont technology firm (MicroStrain, Inc.) and how innovation and creativity stimulated its growth from a single individual to 54 persons.  The presentation will cover important elements of the founder’s (Steve Arms, MSME, UVM) educational experiences that led to success.  Mr. Arms will also discuss the educational background of key hires that fueled product innovation, as well as long-term educational strategies used to sustain job growth and plan for the future.





Strand A –e is for Exceptional             Strand B  - Visions for Change          

Strand C – The eLearning Project                  Strand D –In the Classroom

Strand E- Cool Tools                                      Strand F – Collaboration & Technology

Strand G – What You Should Know                Strand H – Beyond Books

Strand I – Technology Supports ALL Learners

Strand J - Hand –on – Double Session – Bring Your Own Laptop


Please note: There is much crossover between the Integration strands.



See the “Workshops-at-a-Glance” single page flyer in your packet for room location of workshops.


RETN Media Lab – Open All Day – Stop by

Fireplace Lounge, IDX Student Life Center (across from cafeteria)


Students from local schools will work with Dynamic Landscapes participants to explore issues and opportunities with social media, information technology, and 21st-century skills as they prepare for Thursday afternoon's endnote address. Educators and professionals from RETN and VCAM will support students in this live media lab all day Thursday, and conference-goers are welcome to stop in any time to observe, participate, and ask questions.


Session # 1              10:00 – 11:00


A. Red Clover: Vermont Children's Choice Picture Book Award

Joyce Cormier

This presentation will include an introduction of the 2011-2012 Red Clover titles. There will be a summary of each book, the illustrative styles will be considered, along with any other outstanding characteristics. Additionally, accompanying learning activities will also be suggested.



B. Implementing the New Vermont Tech GEs- A School Perspective

Bonnie Birdsall


I will take you on a tour of some of the various projects and ways in which technology has been integrated in our school this year. We'll take a close look at the Tech GEs addressed through the work done by teachers and students in Williston. Participants will discuss the implementation of the new Tech GEs in their schools and help assess the examples provided - how well did they meet the GEs? What are next steps for improvement? What are the next steps for implementation and use of the GEs in all of our schools? This session will be a combination of presentation and group discussion.



C. Leaping Into a Digital Future

Barnet School e-learning team:  Cindy Mosedale, Rebecca Boardman, Sue Persson,  Melissa Bushey, Andy Mosedale, Liddy Roberts, Shawn Gonyaw, and Elise Guyette (e-Learning Coach)


Prompted by the VT e-Learning Project, Barnet School staff seized upon the school’s 20th anniversary to integrate technology into grades K-8. We used a variety of technologies in our study of the town’s path from one-room schools to the present, including video and photography, bubble.us and voicethreads, digital image archives, and a dynamic online historical map of Barnet that connects past to present. Experience our small school’s big leap into its digital future.


D. Interviewing our Elders

Betsy Unger and Eric Hall


A group of 8th graders set out to discover what it was like to be an adolescent in their grandparent’s generation, and along the way they gained an appreciation for the value of oral history as well as making connections between generations (a service learning goal), learning to use Flip video cameras and how to present their work online using Voicethread. Elders and family members are now able to view the students’ work online in our Voicethread gallery


E.  Author in Your Library, Live!!

Jan Reynolds:

Authors are signing up in droves to Skype with librarians and teachers. Skype offers a real time interaction that is much less expensive than an author visit. Author Jan Reynolds will give participants a hands-on chance to Skype on the spot.


F. Collaborating and Creating SocialWok for Google Education

Candy Chevalier & Elizabeth McCarthy


Join district network administrator, Candy Chevalier, and technology integration specialist, Elizabeth McCarthy as they share their experience using and configuring web2.0 tool SocialWok, a safe alternative to open social networking. This Google third party application combines social messaging and group collaboration to enhance student and staff participation in new and exciting ways. SocialWok allows users to share ideas, files, web links, Google Docs and Google Calendar with everyone or select groups of co-workers. Create feeds (groups)  for departments, classes and projects in your school or district.


G. How the iPad changed my life!

Rick Dustin-Eichler   


I want it ALL and the iPad has delivered.  I was extremely skeptical of the iPad’s usefulness when it was delivered to my desk last September.  However, it has slowly won my admiration as an extremely flexible productivity tool. This workshop will focus on the strength of the iPad’s productivity apps through a demonstration of how they can be use to access cloud storage, produce documents, annotate articles, and collect data. 


H. EMS Picks and Twits : An Online Forum for Student Book Reviews

Carole Renca/Rebecca Goldberg

Carole Renca and Rebecca Goldberg will present information about the summer reading blog. Beginning in 2009, the summer blog has been a huge success with hundreds of students and teachers using the forum to write about and respond to postings about their favorite summer books. Through the coordinated efforts of the middle school and the public library, EMS students will “pick and twit” about their summer reading again this summer using a new wiki forum.



I. A Student With Special Needs Develops Self-Advocacy Skills and Personal Insight While Creating a Presentation Using Frames 4

Patty Thomas, OT and a 6th grade student with Autism


A 6th grade student with Autism and an Occupational Therapist combined their skills to create a presentation for people in the community to develop a better understanding of Autism.  Several unexpected benefits occurred along the way! Come hear the story of how one student gained personal insight about how autism affects him and his education.


J. Introduction to Google Apps – Double Session – Part 1

Lisa Barry & Lucie deLaBruere


In this double session you will earn the basics of using the essential features of Google Apps tools including Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Forms.  Join this session and find out what “cloud computing” is all about



Session # 2A or A Lunch               11:10 – 12:10


A. 2010-2011 DCF Book Award Master List

 Linney/DCF Committee

The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award has been honoring quality literature for children in grades 4-8 for more than 50 years! Join the eight members of the DCF Committee as we introduce the 30 titles that make up the 2010-2011 DCF Master List. You’ll receive the list, ideas for innovative ways to present the books, and a discussion guide to help connect these titles to the children of Vermont.


B. 1:1 Initiative Pilot Program

Kathy Hevey


This workshop will focus on the nuts and bolts of piloting a 1:1 Netbook program in a 6th grade classroom.  Use of Google aps, wikis, and a variety of web links will be explored as a way to engage students and enhance student learning. 


C. Transforming Secondary Learning with Technology

Patricia Eaton, Amy Fahey, Lance Mills, Robert Reardon, Dean Stearns, Derek Williams, and Charlie Wilson (e-Learning Coach); (Peoples Academy) David Bain, Rachel Duffy, Phil Grant, Jude Newman, Stew Williamson, and Greg Young (e-Learning Coach)


Follow the journeys of the River Bend Career & Technical Center and Peoples Academy High School as we transform secondary learning in response to our work with the VT e-Learning Project. We will discuss the changes necessary to support transformation, including, using technology to personalize learning, network students with resources outside the school, and implement digital portfolios.  The teachers will also provide examples of student work and feedback on how technology has changed their learning.


D. Students Creating Games, Interactive Stories, and Simulations 

George Raynak, Jacqueline Kaufman, Katie Hatch, Rusti Gregory


This workshop would feature student projects or lesson plans that use 3 Game Creation tools that are accessible to classroom teachers and students from middle school to high school.  These tools include Game Star Mechanic, Scratch, and Inform and can be used to support all content areas from Math to Literacy.  Presenters will include students and classroom teachers


E. Advertise Your Library

Joanne Finnegan & Sue Irish   

Come and see how 3rd and 4th graders at Brewster-Pierce Memorial School demonstrated media literacy skills (from the guidance curriculum) by creating Library Advertisements using digital photo stories and movies. Unexpected benefits included better collaboration with teachers and advocacy for the library when sharing the final products with the community. Librarian Sue Irish and Integration Specialist Joanne Finnegan will share what they learned from the process and some final products.


F. Videoconferences, Skype, Facebook, and Student Movies Connect Students for International Service Projects

Mary Waterman


SoRo High School students presented to students in Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Pennsylvania, and Boston via three videoconferences.  They showcased environmental concerns, were paired with an Israeli school, and assigned a Water Quality Service project.  Students used digital cameras, flip videos, and the Internet to compile information.  With their partner school they created a Facebook page and communicated using Skype and email.  See and learn about successes and challenges via Empower Peace’s pilot project.


G. Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative

Jeff Renard


Learning doesn't stop when the bell rings, it is a 24 x 7 experience. The Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative expands opportunities for schools and teachers to tear down boundaries and make learning available to students from anyplace, anytime. During this session, you will gain an understanding of how Vermont Virtual is connecting Vermont's learning community by helping schools to partner with each other to provide online courses and programs. Come and see how students are expanding their learning opportunities with greater availability of courses, accessibility to courses due to scheduling conflicts, and more flexibility for their education.

H. Podcasting for Enthusiastic Beginners

Anna Bolognani

Podcasting is a fun way to share student work, student book reviews, advocate for your library or program, or record a lesson for students who are missing your class. High school student podcasts will be reviewed along with some basics on getting started. There will be brief tutorials on editing and adding music intros or sound effects, saving your work and making it available..


I. Writing Success with Dragon Naturally Speaking

Jean Chute


Meet Ben, a bright 4th grader who struggled with writing until he began to “write” using dictation software.  Dragon Naturally Speaking is gaining popularity as an assistive technology solution for students who struggle with written expression and have difficulty with completing classroom assignments because conventional writing is a barrier to success. Students are guided through structured 1:1 instruction beginning with voice recording in Audacity to dictating actual writing assignments in the general ed classroom with their peers.


J. Introduction to Google Apps – Double Session – Part 2

Lisa Barry & Lucie deLaBruere



Session # 2B or B Lunch                12:20 – 1:20



A. Green Mountain Book Award (GMBA) 2010-2011:

Great Reads for Grades 9-12.

Peacock/GMBA Committee

What titles have made the 2010-2011 list and how can you get your students to grab them off the shelves? Join members of the GMBA committee for an introduction to the 15 finalists and pick up some great tips on getting teens involved with this award as we present online book discussions, video booktalks, online reviews and more. Fifteen great books; 15 wonderful ways to connect a community of readers.



B.Tech GEs for Real Teachers

Lauren Kelley Parren, Frank Spina, Kevin Grace


As a classroom teacher/tech educator do you struggle with making sense of Vermont Technology Grade Expectations?   Colleagues from ANESU have made them more user friendly.  We have created a graphic for each Tech GE in each grade that includes links to local power standards and real world examples that will more clearly define them for you. During this session we will share our work as well as discuss integration ideas we have developed for the VT TGEs.


C. After the 1:1 Launch: How Our Current 1:1 Initiative is Changing Our Teaching & Learning

Dana Peterson, Melissa Fellows, Nancy Pejouhy, Luis Bango, and Sandy Lathem (e-Learning Coach)

You've probably attended other presentations on 1:1 project implementations.  Stemming from our work with the VT e-Learning Project, this group of Woodstock Union Middle School educators will explain the "Whys" rather than the "Hows" and present several curriculum changes made more feasible by our recent 1:1 netbook initiative.  You'll also hear about challenges and successes with equipment, logistics, parental concerns, interdisciplinary planning, etc. We'll share integration examples and share student perspectives and products.


D. Releasing Your Creative Self

Caleb Clark


Learn techniques that enable you to use any inexpensive pocket digital camera to capture amazing photos and videos. We will cover a few simple and timeless skills for any camera. Learn about the basic settings on your camera, how to use available light, record good sound, and compose a shot professionally. We will use a Web based tutorial that will be available online after class for you to refer to and modify for your own teaching needs. You are welcome to bring your own cameras tp “play around” (Cameras not required).


E. DIY Project: An Interactive Whiteboard

Jennifer Parker


Budget crunch blues? Covet gadgets big and small? Crying in your latte because you can’t afford a SMART board or table? Always up for a do-it-yourself project? Consider creating an interactive whiteboard by using components you may already have sitting around. All you really need for success is a Wii remote, infrared pen, Bluetooth capability, open source software, whiteboard or blank wall, computer, projector and an open mind with a CAN DO attitude.


F. It’s Not About the Technology

Melissa Williams


In a project designed around student choice, 6th graders chose their own (content related) research topics, practiced their research & information skills, organized their ideas using Inspiration software, wrote a “traditional” research report then prepared oral presentations using their choice of six digital presentation tools. As these presentations developed it became clear that the specific tool was not what made a quality presentation: it was the level of questioning, synthesis and organization of key ideas and thoughtful use of images that brought these topics to life.



G. Internet Safety: Keeping Kids Safe or Limiting their Freedom

Jon Morris


We all know that we need to protect students from certain Internet sites. The major question is where do we draw the line?  How do educators protect themselves and their school districts while providing Vermont students with a quality education? Should we filter teachers?  Who makes the decision to filter specific websites?  Who should be allowed to override the filter?  Do we teach Internet Safety when we deny students access to every potential controversial site?  What about access beyond filtering?  Should students be able to install software? Can they bring their own Smart technologies to school?   Sponsored by Vermont’s Internet Safety Project at VTISP.org a free online collaborative and Internet safety program for Vermont’s educational community.



H. A Flood of Reading
Kelly Ahlfeld

Kelly Gallagher, author of Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, argues that young readers need to be in a “book flood” of fun reading opportunities. In this workshop, be ready to immerse yourself in a flood of creative and engaging ideas to provide fun reading opportunities for students via print and technology. Be ready to jot down your favorite ideas to try at your school.


I. How and Why the Transformative use of Technology Requires Cognitive Mentorship

Dylan Baranik and Scott A. Cooledge


As problem solving skills become necessary in today’s workforce, students find themselves with talents, rather than a skill base. To fully recognize and apply talents students at BFA St. Albans are leveraging technology and their relationships with educators in a dynamic manner. Dylan was rarely challenged by the standard curricular offerings and seeks opportunities to challenge his reasoning and problem solving. He discovers educational alternatives and multiple computer science courses. Dylan explains how he thinks Computer Science is vital in the classroom.


J. Beyond Google Docs - Double Session – Part 1

Josh Blumberg


Google Docs is an amazing open system perfect for collaboration.  Classrooms function best with structures in place to allow students to focus on the work at hand.  Google Apps doesn't provide this structure out of the box.  This session will look at ways of building that structure within Google Apps.  We will utilize Google Sites, Google Groups, Google Docs and Gmail to provide a structure for managing student work.  Ways will be provided for: students digitally submitting assignments, formative assessments, collaborative brainstorming, distributing assignments, limiting distraction in the classroom, collaborating with support staff, etc.  We will also touch on how to use these tools at the school level to create a staff portal.


This session will be hands-on, so if you do not have a Google Apps account please sign up for a free gmail account so that you can participate.  Many participants will have valuable experience with Google Apps and this session will be collaborative in nature so that we can learn from each other.


Session # 3               1:30 – 2:30



A. The Kindle Craze!  
Linda McSweeney, Sue Brennan, Laura Albert

Starting with 15 Kindles purchased with a Title IID ARRA literacy grant, the Kindle Craze at Spaulding High School has grown exponentially. Attendees at this session will learn tips and tricks for managing and circulating over 50 Kindles and 200 e-books. Lesson plans using information literacy skills, presentation materials, checklists, and rubrics you can use in your school, will be provided to participants. Kindles will be available for use.



B. Visions of the 21st Century Vermont Classroom

Joanne Finnegan


In the spring of 2009,several Vermont educators collaborated to prepare a vision of 21st Century Classrooms.  The resulting document “Transformation And Technology: A New Way of Learning –Classroom Scenarios,” is a great motivator for teachers to design lessons that incorporate 21st Century Skills. Come and see how Joanne Finnegan, technology integration specialist in Chittenden East Supervisory Union, has used this work in professional development activities, the supporting documents she created for teacher leaders in her district, and some of the unit adaptations that resulted from this work.



C. Manchester Elementary School's Journey Toward Transformation

Clarena Renfrow (e-Learning Coach ) and others from Manchester Elementary/Middle School

The e-Learning Project is rooted in four core themes: Engagement and Technology; Brain-Based Teaching and Learning; Pedagogically Informed Technology Integration; and Effective Professional Development. This presentation will showcase the work that Manchester Elementary/Middle School has done to transform our school through technology integration that enriches teaching and learning, and engages students.  Come and learn from our journey so you can take one of your own.


D. Audacity and the City of Ember – Bringing Literature into the Light!

Kurt Sherman & Dave Davidson


This presentation will show just how versatile, useful and easy to use Audacity, the free audio editor and recorder, can be in bringing a novel to life.  This offering follows a group of fifth and sixth graders at Westford School as they constructed a podcast sequel to Jeanne DuPrau’s novel, The City of Ember.  Using free, web-based music and sound effects, the students integrated  “next chapter” to the story that resulted in impressive. (but easy-to-accomplish) results.  You’ll come away with a whole new take on what Audacity can do and anxious to try it out with your students.


E. Using Scratch in the Classroom
Eileen Vaughn     

Scratch is a programming language that allows your students to make stories, animations, games and more while learning mathematical ideas and thinking creatively. Scratch was developed at the MIT Media Lab. Once the program is downloaded, students can work offline. The creations can be shared online.  You may choose to open a free account before this session from http://scratch.mit.edu/. (Grade 3 and up)


F. Collaborating and Creating with Storybird and VoiceThread

Gillian Thomas and Elizabeth McCarthy


Join middle school Spanish Language teacher, Gillian Thomas, and technology integration specialist, Elizabeth McCarthy as they share their experience using web2.0 tools such as Storybird and VoiceThread  to engage students in collaborative and creative learning. While the content of this presentation is middle school Spanish Language, the tools and pedagogy can apply to any content area.



G. State of the State 2011

Peter Drescher


Anticipating the release of some Title IID classroom based grants, Peter Drescher will discuss initiatives going on at the state level as well as tips for writing a winning grant for school year 2011-12.  A report on the results from the large scale evaluation work occurring statewide on existing grants is also on the docket and this information could be very useful in preparing your FY12 grant programs.  Come gather information to write a winning grant!





H. Transitioning Literacy Programs to the Web
Lauren Chabot/ Don Taylor

How can we use technology tools to increase and enhance the literacy skills of our students? A librarian and a 7th/8th grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher are collaborating to explore methods and tools that will encourage and support the development of standards-based literacy skills and habits in middle school students. Discussion will include successes and challenges. Methods and tools will include: individual reading conferences, electronic reading logs, blogs, video, e-reading, wikis, and Glogster.



I. Providing Technology that Supports Teachers and Students Through Differentiation and Universal Design.

Ed Bianchi and Ellen Matthews


Through the Universal Design for Learning framework, technology integrationists and classroom teachers have a way to use technology to meet the needs of all learners.  UDL provides for evaluating and selecting technology applications that most effectively allow for:

  1. multiple methods of providing information to students  
  2. providing a variety of options for student expression
  3. effective ways to motivate students throughout the learning process.  

The UDL framework supports differentiation in ways that are research based and highly effective.

This workshop will provide an overview of UDL principles, information on how to access UDL resources and an opportunity for discussion and sharing.  From participants who have no experience with UDL to those who are very knowledgeable, all should feel welcomed to join us in this opportunity to talk about how technology can best support the individual needs of all learners.


J. Beyond Google Docs - Double Session – Part 2

Josh Blumberg









Session # 4   Closing Presentation & Door Prizes              2:45 – 3:15


Casting the Social Net for Learning

Jay Hoffman


Transformational changes in the communications field bring new opportunities for meaningful collaborations between community and education. A partnership between Tuttle Middle School and Champlain College works to answer a few questions: can students use social networks for learning? Can social networks help educators become more transparent and foster community collaborations? How can they foster 21st Century Learning Skills?  Join us for some surprising answers!




3:15 – 3:30 - Door Prizes - Must be present to win!



3:30 – 4:30 - VSLA Annual Meeting



3:45 – 6:00 – RETN Reception

IDX – Fireplace Lounge (across from cafeteria)


Please join RETN to help celebrate our 20th birthday! We are in the mood to celebrate after 20 years of providing great video production, Channel 16, and retn.org to the northwestern Vermont educational community.