Technology Times

April 4, 2015

NCCAT - Summer Registration is now Open

NCCAT - All of you may want to attend NCCAT. It is a wonderful opportunity and all of my experiences at NCCAT have been wonderful.. Please consider attending.

Registration for summer professional development programs through the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) is now open. A variety of programs will be offered, including Digital Learning, Early Grades Literacy, Beginning Teachers, and Research and Development Teams. To view the calendar of programs, please visit Lodging and meals are provided. Participants are responsible for travel cost and substitute teaching fees. For more information on how to apply, visit

2015-2016 Meeting Dates for ITF's

ALL ITF's - August 4, 2015 @ Cox Mill High School

August 4, 2015 @ Cox Mill High
September 11, 2015
October 9, 2015
November 6, 2015
December 3, 2015
January 8, 2016
February 5, 2016
March - NC Ties
April 8, 2016
May 6, 2016
June 16, 2016

August 4, 2015 - Cox Mill High School
September 10, 2015
October 8, 2015
November 5, 2015
December 3, 2015
January 7, 2016
February 4, 2016
March - NC Ties
April 7, 2016
May 5, 2016
June 15, 2016

6 Grants to put more Technology in your Classroom

Toshiba Grants For Grades 6 – 12
Wanted: Classroom Innovators! Toshiba America Foundation accepts applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Many successful grantees have designed projects that tap into the natural curiosity of their students, enable students to frame their own scientific questions, and incorporate the expertise of community partners.
Funding amount: $5,000
Deadline: August 1

EcoTech Grants
The Captain Planet Foundation is awarding 16 grants for the purpose of engaging children in inquiry-based projects in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) that use innovation, biomimicry / nature-based design, or new uses for technology to address environmental problems in their communities.
Funding amount: $2,500
Deadline: April 30

Fab School Labs
This contest, from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is open to public middle schools and will make five grants of up to $100,000 available to five winning schools to fund a school lab makeover. Teachers will have the opportunity to submit an entry explaining why they deserve to win a science lab of their dreams giving students access to the latest technology and learning tools.
Funding amount: Up to $100k
Deadline: May 4-June 12

Lockheed Martin STEM Grants
These are general grants supporting specific programs in schools, especially relating to STEM education and community improvement. There is a geographic restriction, which may exclude those handful of states where the company has no physical presence or substantial business interest.
Funding amount: Flexible
Deadline: Rolling

EdTech Conference Grants
K-12 administrators, teachers and technology coordinators are eligible for these grants that make it possible for individuals to attend education technology conferences from eInstruction. Loaner technology to use at the conference and a few other perks are also included.
Funding amount: $3,500Deadline: 5 months in advance of conference

Computers for Learning
CFL is a federal program allows schools and educational nonprofit organizations to view and select the computer equipment that federal agencies have reported as excess, and then bring them back to their institutions. Schools can apply through filling out a registration form.
Deadline: Rolling

Effective Use of On-the-Spot (a.k.a. Formative) Assessments

In this Edutopia article, Vicki Davis describes a telling moment as she taught binary numbers to her students (adding ones and zeroes like a computer). This topic looks harder than it is, says Davis, and she’s found that if she teaches students to count by binary numbers, they usually get it. After a few minutes of this, two students piped up, “We’ve got this, it’s easy. Can we move on?” Davis checked with the rest of the class: “Do you have this?” They all vigorously nodded their heads in assent.

“My teacher instinct said that everyone knew it,” says Davis, “but I decided to experiment. So I wrote a problem on the board. Students were already logged into Socrative, and a box opened on their screens. Each student typed in his or her answer to the problem. They clicked enter, and all their answers appeared on my screen beside the name of each student.” Davis was shocked to see that only two students had the correct answer – the two students who had impatiently asked her to move on. Not one of the students who confidently nodded that they understood was able to answer the problem correctly.

Davis retaught the concept, had students try another problem in Socrative, and the results improved a little. She worked another slightly different problem and checked in, and more students got it. Ten minutes later, the entire class had mastered binary numbers

Is this checking-for-understanding and reteaching process too time-consuming to be a realistic option, given the pressure to cover the curriculum? Not at all, says Davis: “It didn’t take me longer to teach binary numbers. You see, I don’t move past binary numbers until all of my students are scoring 90 percent or higher. And as a result of this experience, I taught binary numbers and all of the accompanying standards in three days instead of my usual five, and no one had to come for after-school tutoring.”

The key, she says, is an anonymous all-class assessment system that allows the teacher to see what’s really going on in students’ minds without “the embarrassment of public hand-raising.” She recommends the following real-time checking-for-understanding systems:

* Socrative – It can be used on the fly, for quick quizzes, or for tests that count, and also works with competitive games like Space Race:

* Kahoot – This program allows teachers to create quizzes, flashcards, and review games, with students using computers, cell phones, or other devices:

* Zaption – This tool can embed questions within a flipped video, not allowing students to continue till they’ve answered each one correctly:

* Backchannel chat tools – These are live chats that accompany class discussions and allow teachers to create exit ticket activities. One example:

* Plickers – Each student holds up a unique QR card, with its orientation signaling their response to a 4-choice question, and the teacher’s smartphone reads and instantly tabulates individual and all-class responses:

“Test scores should never be a surprise,” concludes Davis. “You don’t need to be a mind reader. You just need a formative assessment toolbox, and you need to use it every day.”

“5 Fantastic, Fast, Formative Assessment Tools” by Vicki Davis in Edutopia, January 15, 2015,