CPP Technology Today

A Communication of the CPP Technology Committee - Vol 1.5

CPP Technology Today

Friday, Feb. 19th, 8am

This is an online event.

  1. Instructional Technology in Action - "Voicethread Introduces Spanish Staff and Students to Shared Projects"
  2. Resource Spotlight - VoiceThread
  3. Resources Spotlight - What's New on the CPP Technology Website
  4. Google Apps at CPP: "Inside a Connected (or Google) Classroom - Bring Learning Online with Blogger
  5. Connected Classroom Resources - Blogger
  6. Google Apps at CPP: Login Reminder
  7. Shared Learning - TYPING CLUB TRIAL!!! - "Typing Club Trial - Help Solve the Problem With Student Typing Skills!" by Lori Pruyne
  8. Shared Learning Resources - Typing Club Tutorials
  9. Library Media Connections - "Creating Book Trailers in the Classroom and Library" by Peggy Marsiglio
  10. Library Media Connections Resources: EV Library Webpage - Book Trailer Project Resources
  11. Library Media Connections: "Supporting Student Writing By Providing Authentic Audiences Through LitPick" by Robin Robarge
  12. District Technology News: Brightbytes Results
  13. Technology Master Plan Goals - Integrating Skills Starts with Typing Skills
  14. Get Involved! Join a Focus Group and Become a Techy Turnkey Trainer!
  15. Newsletter Suggestions and Ideas

Instructional Technology in Action

Voicethread Introduces Spanish Staff and Students to Shared Projects

By Patty Becerril-Drapikowski and Carrie Howe

Language is about speaking, writing and the ability to communicate with one another. VoiceThread, an interactive presentation program, allows users to capture expression and articulation regarding a topic through video and audio, which helps students navigate the MYP Spanish Language classroom at the Middle School. The introduction of Voicethread into the Spanish classroom has increased the verbal and written feedback both the student gives the teacher and the teacher gives the students. VoiceThread allows students to make individual choices about their written and verbal communications, making Voicethread an ideal fit for the Spanish curriculum.

Patty Becerril-Drapikowski, Amber Nolan, Sargario Simon and Beth Bly have introduced Voicethread into their classrooms. Students are encouraged to both create written documents in Spanish and to comment verbally using VoiceThread. They construct a paragraph, which they use as a guide to read aloud into their Voicethread stream, in Spanish.The student, when finished, shares the VoiceThread with their teacher for feedback.

The teacher picks up the students' VoiceThreads and makes comments by "doodling" in writing (using the mouse as a pen), by recording their voices to comment verbally back to students or simply by typing text comments into the VoiceThread.

Patty Becerril-Drapikowski says, “I am very thrilled to be using VoiceThread in my Spanish classes! Its possibilities in my classroom are exciting." She explain that using VoiceThread has many applications in her classroom, including helping to "expose students to gaps in their vocabulary and grammar. It has helped my students to improve their fluency. This is exciting and motivates the students to keep trying (recording) until they are completely satisfied with their final product. I especially love being able to make verbal and written feedback to each student. I can't wait to use it again”.

VT is fun and easy for students! As presentations themselves are not created in VoiceThread, students are able to apply other learning to creating a presentation as well. To create a Thread, students upload files into the program. Files can be in various formats - PowerPoints, Word docs, Images, spreadsheets, or any combination of these - arrange them within the program, and allow others to view their work. Students can even comment on their own VoiceThreads, through audio, video or text, leaving their personal mark on their presentation. This ability for students to comment and provide life to a living thread can change a lesson and the way students experience a topic of study in the classroom.

Perhaps the best part of using VoiceThread is the manner in which it increases connection and enjoyment in the learning process! VoiceThread is different from other presentation programs in that it allows students to tell their story, literally, in their own voices. Students are able not just to share the content learned in their classrooms with others, but to get interactive feedback from those who view their work. At the Middle School, staff instructing the Spanish curriculum are seeing the power that VT can offer their students. Contact Lori, Carrie or Dave if you would like to setup an appointment to begin VT in your classroom. We would be excited to start this journal with you and your students!

The first link below is a sample VoiceThread used with a CPP class. The following links are tutorials for setting up and using VoiceThread.

Instructional Technology Resource Spotlights - VoiceThread

What's New on the District Technology Webpage?

The CPP Technology website is a district site, containing resources, links and updates for teachers, parents and students. Content is added to the website frequently, so be sure to check in. Ideas for content can be shared with any Tech Committee member, Bill Cameron or Lori Pruyne.


- Find tutorials, samples and resources for using Blogger, a blogging platform that all CPP teachers and students have accounts for already, through our Google Apps for Education accounts

- Explore VoiceThread, an interactive presentation tool that allows teachers and students to upload files - PowerPoints, word docs, images and more - into the program, and then leave audio, video or text comments. Let students leave their own answers to questions, observations on artwork, notes on maps or diagrams and reflections on learning right on your classroom notes! Liven up lectures and repurpose years of PowerPoints in a new, more engaging, way! Find resources here.

Keyboarding Trial - Teachers have made it clear that a lack of keyboarding skills holding students back. The Technology Committee is investigating how to help solve this problem. Click here to access the documents on our trial of Typing Club, a web-based program that helps students develop typing skills. Full accounts are already created for all teachers, and for students grades K-8. Help be part of exploring ways to help our kids succeed with technology.

Technology at CPP is a new section of the website, that will allow access to important district-related technology documents. The page currently contains information on the Smart Schools Bond and on the Technology Master Plan Goals.

- Access the teacher, student and parent links for the BrightBytes Technology Survey

Other Important Resources:

Access the CPP Technology Newsletter - new issues and archives!

- Open presentations, handouts and resources from many of the technology-related

- Find information and tutorials on using Google Apps

- Access tips and tricks for teaching in a 1:1 environment

Google Apps at CPP

Inside a Connected (or Google) Classroom: Bring Learning Online with Blogger

This regular feature will explore experiences from CPP teachers and students with using various Google Apps for Education

There are many different programs (or Apps) within the Google Apps for Education suite. One of these is Blogger, a blog hosting site.

Since Blogger is part of Google Apps for Education (GAE), every teacher and student at CPP, by virtue of having the GAE account, also has a Blogger account. This enables them to write and publish their own blog. As the accounts are part of the education suite, there are features that allow users to control the privacy level of blogs, restricting who can and can not view the site.

Blogging incorporates many educational goals into one process. A class blog becomes a medium through which a teacher can communicate classroom practices, news, happenings, learning and accomplishments to students, parents and the community. Student blogs allow students to practice writing, to read and reflect on the work of others, and - often most influentially - to share their work with an authentic audience. Through blogs, students can connect with others worldwide, and see their writing and ideas impact others, while they in turn learn from those with whom they connect.

Every blogging project does not require an international focus, however! Blogs can be shared within a class, or a school or a grade level, letting students in one room or building share their thoughts with students in another. Students can blog as a fictional character, a historical figure, a celebrity or a scientist. They can use blogs as science journals, places to write and share stories, and raise questions. Shy students can participate in written "discussions" through blogs and comments in a way that might be difficult for them to do in a verbal discussion.

There are many resources available for blogging in the classroom. Some are linked below, but please contact Lori, Carrie or Dave if you'd like to explore blogging further with your students!

Google Apps Logins


This year, CPP has activated their Google Apps for Education domain. Through this domain, ALL teachers and students have Google Drive accounts, as well as access to many Google Apps for Education, including Google Classroom, Google Docs and many more.

To access your account:

  1. First, go to drive.google.com to log in to Google Drive. Drive is your starting point for all the Google Apps.
  2. Your username is whatever you use to login here at cpp +@cppasd.com (ie, lpruyne@cppasd.com).
  3. Contact Lori Pruyne, Carrie Howe or Dave Mayotte for your password. Passwords are all preset, and you will be prompted to change it at your first login.

Students also have accounts. Their usernames are set up the same ways as teacher accounts, and their passwords explained in the tutorial below. Student Google Apps Login Tutorial on the CPP Technology Website.

There are extensive resources for using Google Apps for Education at the CPP Google Apps Hub on the district technology page. Resources include videos, tutorials, practice exercises and activities to use with students.

If you'd like some help accessing and using Apps, please contact Lori, Carrie or Dave!

Shared Learning

Typing Club Trial - Help Solve the Problem With Student Typing Skills!

By Lori Pruyne

As part of the effort to support teachers as you work to integrate technology into the classroom, the Technology Sub-Committee on Skills is beginning to trial some keyboarding programs.

In the survey that was distributed to teachers in January 2015, and through a great deal of feedback both verbal and written, elementary teachers in particular have identified keyboarding skills as an area where students need a great deal of instruction. Many have expressed that students’ inability to type makes it difficult to use technology, as it takes so long for inexperienced typists to complete learning tasks.

There are many keyboarding programs available to help students learn to type better. These programs each boast a wide array of different features. Many programs are now web-based, as opposed to simply software installed on individual computers. Web-based programs can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet, so that students could access the program and practice typing outside of the classroom. This is potentially exponentially beneficial to students, as some studies indicate that for every 1 minute a student spends on game-based digital learning in the classroom, they will voluntarily follow up with 1.5 minutes of practice at home. It is also important that teachers be involved in evaluating potential keyboarding programs, as they will be the ones utilizing them with students.

Typing Club is a program that contains many features teachers have expressed interest in. District accounts are available, so students will have just one account that is renewed every year, but multiple teachers can add students to their classes. Reports are available that log and display student progress in multiple areas - accuracy, speed, even time practiced. There are pre-created lessons that students can progress through at their own pace. In addition, teachers can input their own text for students to practice - so while they're typing, they can also be practicing spelling words, reading that week's read-aloud, exploring a text for social studies, or working on a text that supports the curriculum in some way.

Teacher and student accounts have already been created, and teachers will soon receive an email with their and their students' login information. CPP-specific tutorials have been created and are shared below and on the District Technology site. Please do not hesitate to email Lori Pruyne if you would like any help with setting up Typing Club!

We have until April 11th to trial this program and will ask for feedback from anyone who chooses to try the program out at the end of that period, or at any time throughout the process. Participating in the trial is totally voluntary, but the more feedback received, the easier it will be to make decisions regarding the path keyboarding instruction will take at CPP.

TypingClub School Edition in 10 minutes

Library Media Connections

Creating Book Trailers in the Classroom and Library

By Peggy Marsiglio

In the library at Erwin Valley, I use Windows Movie Maker with 5th graders to create a book trailer as their final project. It is a free program that is already available to us through our start menu. As the 5th grade teachers also use Movie Maker for a similar project, students come to the library with some previous knowledge and experience with the program. This enables me to hone their technology skills and help with their writing, while supporting what teachers are doing in the classroom.

Using Windows Movie Maker is a great way to integrate technology within the classroom. It not only helps meet district technology standards, but inspires students’ creativity. In this project, students are required to choose a book that they enjoyed reading during their elementary years and write a script that would excite other students to read it. Their writing has to be succinct and engaging. While they are writing, they also have to choose images and possibly music to accompany their script to further encourage others to read their book.

The entire project takes multiple weeks, so I created a wiki page with step-by-step instructions, including screen shots, to help guide students in following direct instructions while providing them with guided practice. This instruction page not only helps the visual learners, but allows students a resource to use when absence is an issue.

There are a variety of ways in which a Windows Movie Maker project can help support student learning in the classroom, and help teachers better explore curriculum content with students. Students can write their own script for a story or play that goes along with what they are reading in class, record them, and edit in Movie Maker. They can create an alternate version of a movie trailer, and use it to do book reviews, or even a commercial for something they have created! They could create a video that explains a scientific principle, one that explores another culture, or even one that shows how math is used in everyday life. Possibilities are endless and allow for more creative projects in the classroom and/or the library.

Explore the resources for this project at the link below.

Supporting Student Writing By Providing Authentic Audiences Through LitPick

By Robin Robarge

LitPick is an online community of teen and preteen students who read books and write reviews for other students to read. It is a world-wide network of students who encourage reading by sharing their recommendations with other students.

LitPick is being used this year in both the middle school and high school libraries. The site offers subscriptions to students that provide them with books and with a platform to share their reviews. Our LitPick student reviewers are overseen by our secondary library media specialists: Donna Cornell, Stacie Martinec and Robin Robarge.

The process of selecting and reviewing books operates at the pace of each student reviewer, but students are encouraged to read and review a book about every 4-6 weeks. When a student submits a review, it must be approved by one of our library media specialists before being published on the LitPick site. This process can be a lengthy ‘back and forth’ between student and facilitator. In the process, students learn how to summarize content, explain their opinions in writing with support from the book, and how to write in a way that will excite others to read their book.

To streamline this process, our libraries are creating online classrooms via Google Classroom, where our students can communicate more readily with teachers and share their work with other student reviewers for feedback. This online space is ideal, considering that our library teachers do not have regular, everyday interaction with every student, as in a classroom setting. Providing students with the Google Classroom also creates a space for them to receive peer and teacher edits and comments before their reviews are sent to the LitPick site to be shared with the world. Additionally, peer reviewing can alsp result in increased interest in other books, and help formulate ideas of ‘what to read next.’

Any classroom teacher could utilize the same model, either with books obtained through membership in the LitPick site or by having students share reviews of books from the classroom or school library. Student reviews can be shared with the class in Google Classroom, or posted onto a classroom blog to share with parents, the community or the internet at large, allowing students' writing to help and influence other young readers.

District Technology Updates


The two-week window for participation in the BrightBytes technology survey has closed! Corning-Painted Post had excellent levels of participation from students and teachers at all buildings and levels! Teachers were the driving force behind this - the work they did taking the survey and helping students take it will influence technology decisions and help all of our students going forward!

More detailed information will be coming on the survey in this spot in future newsletters. A few sneak peeks (that will be explored further in the future):

- CPP Teachers overwhelmingly recognize the importance of technology for kids

- Teachers use more technology and have higher skill levels than they think they do

- Students are more comfortable with technology than teachers

- Parents approve of technology use in the classroom, and support the idea of more technology in their childrens' education

Check here next issue for details on these facts and more, as well as next steps and recommendations from the survey!

Technology-Related Master Plan Goals: Goal 2 Progress - Integrating Skills Starts with Typing Skills

The second of the eight technology-related Master Plan goals outlines a plan for ensuring that our students are taught technology skills, in a way that authentically embeds that teaching within the curriculum.

Objective 4: To formulate a plan to integrate technology skill instructional into grade level curricula

The first of the three objectives to this goal have been accomplished, and work on the fourth - integrating technology skills into content-area instruction - has begun.

Last issue explored how K-5 teachers have begun the work of using technology to help improve instruction and student engagement in the classroom (the powerpoint from the 2.1 conference day is again shared below).

A next step in this area is beginning with the trial of Typing Club, detailed above. Teachers have indicated again and again that typing skills are a real barrier to success. The Technology Committee is exploring solutions, and one of those explorations is the trial of Typing Club, which will run through April 11. Please check out the program, on your own, with students, or in any combination, and share your thoughts with any of the Technology Committee members listed below.

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Get Involved!

Get Involved! Join a Focus Group and Become a Techy Turnkey Trainer!

As more and more technology is becoming available at CPP, more teachers are utilizing and interested in utilizing instructional technology in their classrooms. As their numbers increased, there's a greater need for individuals to help them, providing information, assistance and ideas on using instructional technology.

There is no better resource for a teacher than another teacher. Toward the end of enabling teachers to support each other, several focus groups will be forming in the following months with the goal of enabling interested teachers to become "turnkey trainers." These focus group members will explore resources, investigate programs and share and instruct each other. They will then bring what they learn from each other back to other teachers in their buildings.

The first of these groups to form will be a Google Apps Focus Group. Teachers of all grade levels are encouraged to be involved; ideally, the group would contain at least one teacher from each school in the district. It is not necessary that teachers have used Google Apps for Education with classes at this point, but they should be familiar with Google programs and comfortable with technology. Meeting times and further information will be determined once membership has been solidified. Please contact Lori Pruyne, through email or at x3503 to indicate interest or for more information!

Newletter Information

What's happening with tech in YOUR classroom? Share your story - you can write your own, or we will visit you to watch you and your kids in action! The best professional development comes from other teachers - share your ideas with your colleagues to help all of our kids succeed!

For more information about the newsletter, to make suggestions for content or to contribute, please contact Lori Pruyne.