Bits & Bytes-Tech In Ten

Curated Tools and Resources for our K-12 Teachers and Staff

Issue #9 06/18/13 Have A Rubric Free Summer!
This is our last issue before the summer break. We would like to thank everyone for all the positive feedback on Tech In Ten and we're glad that many of you have been able to use these tools and resources in your classrooms this year. We love hearing from you so if you have an idea for a topic that you would like us to cover let us know. If you want to use one of these tools but are not quite sure how to get started drop us an e-mail, we would be happy to come help out in your classroom.

Look for a Welcome Back Issue in August. Have a great summer...and DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT YOUR DATA!!!!

Have A Rubric Free Summer

Yeah! Summer is here and hopefully most of you are free to kick back and relax a little and hey, maybe even try out something new that you can use in your classrooms this fall. We think there is something for everyone in the items below.

Genius Hour

We've all heard the phrase "Think outside the box." Yet, so much of what our students do inside of the classroom has to fit within that box or rubric, etc. Genius hour is a movement to allow students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.

It is generally accepted that this movement in education has evolved from the Google 80/20 rule. Google engineers have been encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on something company related that interests them, so when they have a great idea, they always have time to work on it. Many of their most innovative products were created this way.

There are many, many online resources available which explain this concept and provide some great implementation examples. The best one stop shop for most of these is right here.

Six Teachers / 300 Students

See what happened at Wissahickon HS this past year when a group of teachers implemented the Genius Hour in their school. Check out the video below. And one more time..... If you are in the district you must unblock YouTube first !!

Best student quote: "I never really got to do something on my own in school before. There is really no outline, no rubric, no anything. I got to do what I wanted, what I love."

Wissahickon HS Genius Hour

Genius Hour Mini-Documentary

Twitter Teacher Challenge

We think that Twitter can be a great way to cultivate your own private learning network. Summer is here and you are "rubric free" so now might be a perfect time to give Twitter a try. In the spirit of PLN's, we've jumped into Wissahickon's Summer Of Twitter Challenge. Follow the quick video below for an overview of the challenge. There is a page on the wiki just for our school where you can add your twitter handle and see who else in the district might already be on Twitter. Click here for our page.

Summer of Twitter: Challenge for Teachers

Getting A SMART Board This Fall?

When the new Cheltenham Elementary school opens this fall, all teachers will be equipped with SMART Boards in their classrooms. Also, quite a few of our High School teachers will be getting new SMART Boards installed over the summer as well. We found a great online reference tool that you might find useful to help you get acclimated to this new technology. Teachers who already have had these interactive white boards could also benefit from reviewing this resource. We found out about some very useful widgets that we had no idea were out there! Check it out here. Also, don't forget, our Bits & Bytes website has links to all the best SMART Board sites. That link is here.

Skype In The Classroom

By now, everyone has heard of Skype. If you have ever wondered about using Skype in the classroom now it is easier than ever to incorporate into your classroom. Check out these three easy steps to creating a Skype in the classroom lesson. Discover how Skype is helping to change the world with technology and connecting teachers and classrooms across the globe.

Create An Edmodo Classroom

This past school year we introduced Edmodo to our 5th through 12th grade teachers. Some of you have embraced this technology and are using it with a lot of success in your classes. If you have not checked Edmodo out yet, why don't you sign up ? Each school has a unique code, you can email one of us for yours. Once online create a class and share resources by connecting your Google Apps account. Check out Bits & Bytes for further instructions.

FYI, there is also a live web event called Edmodocon 2013 where you can watch live presentations by other educators on how they are using Edmodo in their classrooms. Edmodocon 2013 is on August 7th, learn more here. Lastly, don't forget that there are many great teacher only groups that you can join, we have gotten many great ideas from these groups. Click this link to see a listing of available groups to join.

Check Out Google Apps

Google Apps accounts are available to every staff member and student in the district. Professional development was provided for our 5th through 12th grade teachers this past year. It is impressive how many of you have embraced this new technology. We have witnessed many students taking advantage of their accounts to complete school projects and collaborate with their teachers and other students.

If you go to our district website and click on Google Apps under Staff, you should be able to sign in using your Cheltenham e-mail address and password. If your Cheltenham username and password doesn't work, it is possible that you never set up your account. All users were asked to change their passwords at the beginning of the year to initiate their Google accounts. If you need to change your password, here are the instructions. You must do this from within the district. Click here for some basic how to's.

Cool Tool Alert

Use the Mozilla Popcorn Maker application to enhance, remix, and share videos - all within your browser ! Add text, links, maps, pictures and live feeds. Take some of your existing videos and give them that MTV pop up video feel, plus add links to just about anything. Visit the Popcorn Maker site here, to see how this works. This tool has endless possibilities in the classroom.
Here at Tech In Ten, we are always thinking ahead ! Coming this fall we will be introducing two new venues:

  • Google Apps Classroom Workshops
  • SDCT Technology YouTube Channel

If you are a 4th or 5th grade teacher, we will be offering Google Apps workshops for you and your students. The time and place are yet to be determined by your school principals, but our goal will be to help you and your students quickly get up to speed so that you can start creating and collaborating online.

YouTube channels are all the rage and a great way to share knowledge. We often find solutions to our own tech questions on YouTube. Next school year we will be creating our own district technology channel. This channel will contain how to tutorials specific to our district systems and network as well as commonly asked questions. Watch a video, learn something new.

How To Contact Us

Dana and Lisa are technology trainers for the School District of Cheltenham Township.

We are available to come to your school or classroom.

Email us at and

Visit our technology website, Bits & Bytes.

We'd love to hear how you are using technology in your classroom.