Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Learning - MA Digital Publication Collaborative

I am attending the kickoff at MA Digital Publication Collaborative at Burlington High School this week!  You can follow on twitter #madpc. Upon arriving at the conference I connected with a few colleagues from other school districts.  We quickly jumped in the conversation using Hootsuite and TweetDeck, so we could follow topics and links during the keynote.  We also followed the ISTE 2012 taking place in San Diego this week.  Ironically Patrick Larkin the former Burlington Principal, now assistant superintendent of learning was tweeting from ISTE12!  I love the fact that Burlington has embraced collaboration using technology and demonstrate the power of being connected.  I also admire their efforts to open up their school and share with everyone.  What an amazing group of educators!

A few notes from my sessions.
Day 1 -  The goal of the  MA digital collaborative was designed to present an overview of a multi-district collaborative. Superintendents Dr. Eric Conti, Burlington Public Schools, Dr. Marinel D. McGrath, Andover Public Schools, and Dr. Maureen LaCroix, Bedford public schools stressed the need for districts in MA to open up district lines and share what is happening in their schools and classrooms see more on agenda and topics.  The afternoon closing session included a visit from  Mitchell D. Chester, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education where he listened to educators from across New England and thanked us for taking the time to work together.

Day 2
I attended a hands-on session using Net Texts, as an extension from the keynote on Monday. It allows students to access open source multimedia courses along with adding any of your own materials for a custom approach to online textbooks.   Students access the materials by downloading the Net Texts App for the ipad Here’s a few things that it can do ..
  • Teachers received  a login prior to the conference to the Net Texts site to select existing courses or to create new courses by mixing and matching items from our library with their own educational material.
  • Students use the iPad app to download the courses, filled with videos, slideshows, e-books, PDFs, text, audiobooks, and links.  
There is a list of collections that you can view.  A few of us seem interested in building a Digital Literacy/Citizenship curriculum for students.  I am familiar with the FREE Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum from Common Sense. I plan on taking a look at this over the summer.

I attended a second session with Nick and Noni from on OER (Open Educational Resources and copyright) showing a number of resources such as An additional session on copyright from Creative Commons was provided by .  He gave a great presentation with lots of resource.

Day 3
We worked in a variety of groups by content area and posted to a wiki .  The technology library group was led by Dennis Villano.  He showed us dotEPUB  (a download that plugs into multiple browsers that turns any webpage into an e-book).  This allows students to mark up a handout and take notes if used on the ipad. We touched upon Apple's iBooks Author (a download only for mac, there is no ipad app for this tool).  Matt Brooks from Apple presented a more detail demonstration on iBooks Author at a number of session over the three days. If you don't have a mac they recommended to look at Sigil a download  to create epubs.   At the same time #ISTE12 provided a link on the topic "Epubs in Action presentation"  

I enjoyed the opportunity to get together with a group of passionate educators that love learning and want to make their classes more engaging.

To quote the Burlington's Superintendent "We are strongest when we work together".