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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Author Archives: smadlinger

Last Saturday, Discovery Education and the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts hosted a free educational technology mini-conference. The 2011 Spring Virtual Conference was streamed live with guest speakers sharing their knowledge about online publishing, project-based learning, geocaching and more. Thousands of educators from across the world gathered in their homes or at various locations around the globe to learn, collaborate, and network.

As a free professional development opportunity, CSD offered this the live stream event for St. Louis area educators to participate in from our building, plus we offered hands-on training and instructional technology assistance. The participants were able to choose between watching and discussing the live stream of Discovery Educator Network guest speakers or collaborate in smaller group sessions hosted by the instructional technology trainers in the VLC. The participants brought their own wireless device or used one in the Technology Enhanced Learning Environment (tele) of CSD. Our special guest was Discovery Education Professional Developer Cindy Lane. Cindy shared many of the hidden treasures of DE streaming.

Teachers from ten different districts in Missouri and Illinois attended this event. Attendees also received information about the VLC professional development opportunities and how to become a member of the Discovery Educator Network.

“I am so excited about all that I learn every time I come here,” one teacher from Warren County R-3 Schools shared. Two 4th grade teachers from the School District of Clayton stated that they would be sure to come back for the free trainings CSD offers on Discovery Education streaming– those are offered every-other-month on Mondays. The next session- the final one for this school year- is this upcoming Monday, May 9th. Click here to learn more about this free all-day training. Registration is required.

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On October 15, CSD’s Virtual Learning Center will host a FREE educational product showcase. District representatives may attend to learn about the latest in educational products related to Curriculum, Intervention and Assessment. Come see nearly 20 educational products and applications demonstrated live and find out how these can enhance your district’s classroom instruction for greater student success.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network, and receive input on how other districts are using these products. Free pilots, giveaways & incentives will also be available.

The Showcase focus is on Curriculum, Intervention, and Assessment. Specialists in the following areas will benefit from attending:

  • Curriculum Coordinators
  • Department Chair
  • Data and Assessment Coordinators
  • Alternative school / credit recovery program coordinators
  • Differentiated Instruction leaders ~ ELL, ESL, Gifted, SPED
  • Reading / Language
  • Teacher Leaders
  • Instructional Technology

The showcase is from 8 am to 2 pm on Friday, October 15 at CSD, 1460 Craig Road. Attend all day or only a portion of the day as your schedule permits. Check out CSD’s homepage for more information and to see the pdf list of presentations to plan your day. Register to attend at If you have additional questions, contact Stephanie Madlinger at or 314-692-1212.

Several of our member school districts were able to come learn about high quality educational products that help increase student achievement and effective teaching last Friday. The St. Louis Area Curriculum Coordinators Association (SLACCA) chose six vendors to invite to CSD’s first Curriculum & Technology Showcase.

The focus of the showcase was online learning for K-12 students and educators. SchoolTown presented and sponsored the opening speaker, Meg Ormiston. Breakfast was sponsored by Aventa Learning and lunch was sponsored by K12, both groups also presented on their product. Other vendor presentations throughout the day included the Independent High School, SqoolTechs, and Elluminate. Participants came from several area districts. To see photos of the day, visit our Flickr page.

Our next Curriculum & Technology Showcase takes place a week from today, on Monday, June 21. Participants for next week’s event include Elluminate; PD 360; Reading Plus; Recorded Books; SunGard Public Sector | K-12 Education (Performance PLUS); and  The Master Teacher. Dr. Bena Kallick will be the opening speaker for the day; curriculum and professional development vendors will be featured the rest of the day. RSVPs are requested; please register here.

In addition, we will be holding future showcases next fall and beyond.

The deadline for the Show-Me a Movie contest was last week. Over 160 student produced digital stories came flying in to the VLC. After the holidays nearly 20 educators & experts in digital media will judge the movies in the following categories: Show Me A Challenge, Show Me Your Community, Show Me Something New & Show Me A Story.

Martha Bogart, Program Coordinator, stated that nearly half of the digital stories submitted are in the middle grades, 6th-8th.  “More and more middle school teachers are embedding multimedia projects into their curriculum, especially in the areas of Science, Social Studies, and Communication Arts.  We are also finding many Character Education & Cultural Diversity movies submitted.”

The winners will be awarded at CSD‘s 27th annual Midwest Education Technology Conference.  “A Night at the Movies” reception honoring the students and their teachers will be held Tuesday afternoon of the conference. Popcorn, soda, pretzels and more will be served to all reception attendees. The sponsor of the Show-Me a Movie contest is Tech4Learning.  They will have representatives present at the conference and attend the reception, so make sure to register for METC, and attend February 8th-10th.

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Digital stories are the 21st century essay.

As part of a year long professional development opportunity, nearly 20 educators gathered in the tele to create their digital masterpiece. These teachers are creating digital stories with the help of the educational technology instructors at CSD.  This long-term professional development is called integrating Technology Educators Academy. The iTEA is offered as one of the many VLC programs at Cooperating School Districts.

For the 2nd year, Ritenour School District is participating in the VLC‘s iTEA. With a focus on digital storytelling & using classroom strategies with technology,  participants are reading two books, DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories & Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works.  Through both face-to-face and online formats, the teachers are learning & sharing lesson ideas, curriculum resources, classroom management strategies and more.

Currently the VLC is providing several academies to area school districts with a variety of goals and expected outcomes.  Each academy is created based on the needs, resources, and programs currently in the district or school.  All of the iTEA’s use an online course management system so teachers can access the handouts & resources, as well as collaborate & receive feedback 24/7.

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Over twenty educators from the St. Louis area & Arkansas learned how to integrate technology into their teaching and learning using the iPod touch. The Technology Leadership Academy met for their 3rd time today as part of a year long professional development opportunity offered by the VLC at CSD.  This popular academy provides professional development for teacher leaders.  As the participants learn about various technologies, they create an Action Plan for their school or district.   The Action Plan is developed based on the needs of the school, including steps for integrating technology.  Online resources such as Google Docs, Delicious, Diigo & Moodle are used to help collaborate & learn together.

Educators receive an iPod touch as part of the TLA.  Michael Porterfield, Instructor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis assisted in the teaching and learning.  He shared with the participants how to use the iPod touch for email, movies, images & more. Teachers walked away with great ideas for using them in the classroom and as educational leaders in their schools.

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Magic Glasses

Taking a critical look at the 6 elements of digital storytelling.

Ten lucky high school teachers in the St.Louis area are spending the day with Bernajean Porter, national & international collaborative staff developer.  Today’s workshop is part of the ARRA Grant written by CSD‘s Virtual Learning Center staff.  Five history teachers from each district,  Ritenour & Ferguson Florissant are creating digital stories.  This morning teachers are empowered to critically look through magic glasses at the 6 elements of a good digital story.
As part of the grant, the participants will be creating digital stories with one of their classes next semester.  Each teacher has also provided 3 lesson plans that integrate technology.  These plans have been evaluated using several criteria including the Grappling’s Technology & Learning Spectrum, MO 4th Cycle MSIP, DOK, and McRel’s Researched-Based Instructional Strategies.  One of the goals of the grant is that there will be improvement of understanding and implementation of each of these areas.

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