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Moodle: It’s not just 4 nerds.

Over the past 12 years, many teachers in our district have tried using Moodle (in Dearborn, we call our Moodle site iLearn). A few absolutely took off with it. Many of those teachers are still using it, and at increasingly higher levels each year. Most, however, got...

The Ramblings of Bob Harrison, Father of Four

Please allow me to get a little personal with this one: My point of view from another role.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Embedding YouTube Videos into Google Slides

Did you know you can embed a YouTube video into a Google Slide?  And it's pretty simple, too! When in Google Slides, navigate to the slide in which you want to embed your video.  Click the Insert menu, and select Video.   You can search for the video on YouTube, or,...

Tech Tip Tuesday: An Alternative to Tri-folds

Students love to unleash their creativity by creating elaborate tri-fold boards or brochures.  Can we give students another option?  How about using Google Drawings to create interactive poster boards? By using Google Drawings, students can create colorful multi-media...

Hybrid Assessment: The Best of Both Worlds

Just because one part of an assessment requires paper doesn’t mean the whole thing needs to. If you can automate part of what you do, you should.

Tech Tip Tuesday: The Onscreen Keyboard

Chromebooks have many accessibility options, but the one most frequently seen is the onscreen keyboard.  The onscreen keyboard may take the place of the physical keyboard, if necessary.  To turn the onscreen keyboard on or off, click on the settings in the bottom...

Tech Tip Tuesday: Changing Ownership of Google Files

Oftentimes, I will create, or begin to create, something for a teacher to use in the classroom.  Yet, once I've created it, I have no use for the file any longer.  If I delete it, the teacher and the class will no longer have access to the file.  In this case, the...

If You Don’t Print It, Did It Really Happen?

One indicator that we may not yet have fully embraced technology in the classroom is the fact that physical products are preferred, if not strongly demanded, over digital.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Annotate Video

Take your Reading Apprenticeship strategies to the next level while incorporating a little digital media by empowering your students to “talk-to” video…

My Best Failure Yet

I've heard it time and time again in the Tech Coach role, "It's perfectly acceptable to fail."  I don't take failing lightly, so this is hard advice to take.  But I did it.  I failed.  And it was wonderful. I am working in a fourth grade classroom with an extremely...

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Technology Integration Partnerships

This year, as in years past, Amy and I will be available in buildings on a regular basis to support teachers and students in their needs with regard to technology use. We will also begin to develop our Technology Integration Partnerships with teachers and students, in which we will be working alongside teachers and students on a curriculum unit basis to help develop, plan, and co-facilitate instruction that integrates technology for increased student opportunity and learning.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Hotkeys for Teachers

Inspired by the sweltering heat of the past few days of school, I thought I’d share a few shortcut keystrokes. You may (and should) be familiar with some, but others may not be as familiar. Here are a few hotkey combinations that every cool teacher should know…

Time, Talents, and Passion (Bob is back.)

After a long summer of uncertainty and hesitation about my career goals, as well as a few weeks of trying it out, I have requested to end my Administrative Internship and return to my previous position as Technology Coach…

…Let’s continue inspiring kids to use technology in productive ways, educating lifelong learners for success in the 21st century, and celebrating our manifold successes in opening doors to new and greater opportunities for learning in a digital world.

Using Chromebooks Doesn’t Have to Be a Gamble

As we get started with a new school year, teachers in classrooms across the district are dealing with a few dozen factors every class period that cause them anxiety. One of them is the mere act of signing out and opening up the Chromebook cart. But it doesn’t have to feel like a gamble every time students use technology. I thought I’d offer a few practical tips to help the use of Chromebooks in your classroom go more smoothly.

Free Money for Your Classroom!

Please read the following about a new initiative we learned of while attending ISTE this year, the #TeachersAreProfessionals movement.  This initiative is focused on provided teachers with $250 of FREE MONEY to use in their classroom ANY WAY THEY CHOOSE.  No receipts,...

For the Love of Moodle

So this happened today: The excitement in Melanie Klein's text was palpable.  Here is a teacher that found something that not only worked for her and her students, but made them both excited to learn!  This marvelous tool is the workshop module in Moodle (iLearn). In...

7 out of 10

Giving kids what they need within the time frame in which they can actually (and will actually) do something with it is crucial to their learning. In this sense, I would propose that it’s far more important that our feedback be engaging than our “instruction”.

Google Forms for Parent Contact Records

To facilitate keeping good records of contacts I have made with parents, I created a Google Form that I, alone, have access to. This provides an interface on which I can quickly record a summary of my conversation, whom I contacted and the results. All of the information I enter feeds into a Google Sheet for my own documentation and for access at any point later on. The form is set to allow multiple entries. All I have to do is click the eye icon to see the entry interface.

S.O.S. for Mahara Users

Getting Your Feet Wet For those who may be unfamiliar, Mahara is our ePortfolio program, and has become very popular among teachers across the district.  Mahara is a clean, bright platform used to display videos, pictures, and text.  It can fully integrate with Google...

From Lawn Chairs to Finish Lines

Potato Chips, a Lawn Chair, and the Nudging Neighbor On a beautiful spring day, my husband and I were sitting outside, watching the neighbors walk their dogs, ride their bikes, and generally enjoying the springtime air while getting in a little exercise.  As I sat...

Hanging Out with the Tech Coaches: The Moodle Workshop

We were live on Google Hangouts on Air this morning discussing how to set up a Moodle Workshop module (view the recording below). Here’s a glimpse of what Amy and I talk about when we’re not meeting with teachers, and also a tutorial (in full or in part) on how to set up the Workshop module for your own class!

Reason #5: Moodle is Sustainable

Every endeavor into a new tool or strategy comes at the expense of something else that isn’t being pursued. Every endeavor involves a tradeoff as well as an investment. And if the investment is mostly financial (which is often the case for the most “user-friendly” tools), we can be in for a rude awakening when the funding dries up, the focus shifts, or the vision changes. People who invest time and energy in using a particular tool can find themselves in a quandary when it suddenly goes away or becomes a paid service. So much of what we try to do or use in education simply isn’t sustainable in any sense of the word.

Teaching is Hard

Over the past couple weeks, students in Ms. Angela Altomonte’s U. S. History class at Fordson have been working hard at preparing lessons to deliver to their peers on various topics. They learned valuable lessons about what it takes to be a teacher–and taught us a lesson about what students are really capable of when it comes to technology.

How do I ...?

Get help on some of the most frequently-used tools.

Meet the Tech Coaches

Who we are, where we’re from, and what we do


Teacher Perspectives

Dearborn Teachers discuss their experiences with using the Moodle Workshop module in their instrution.

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Early Childhood / Preschool

Use technology in beneficial ways with your child

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Google Apps

Help, tips, and hints for using Google Apps for Education (G Suite)

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Help students collect and curate artifacts of their work, set goals and develop plans.

boy with tablet and girl with laptop sit on couch; heads are not visible


Transform the way students learn in your classroom with iLearn

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Form a working partnership with parents and students by communicating effectively

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Everyone has a right to information. Learn how to make your materials accessible to all.

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Technology for Lifelong Learning

As technology increases exponentially, learners in the 21st century have the opportunity to go far beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom.  The available technology provided by the Dearborn Schools allows students to interact in the digital community, collaborate with peers, and engage with the world from their seats in our classrooms.  The possibilities for learning know no boundaries online.  Learn how to help students become lifelong learners in the digital community.

Our Goal

The goal of instructional technology coaches is to help teachers become effective at using technology to provide the most technology-rich, positive learning environments possible.  To this end, we believe effective teachers…

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.
  2. Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments.
  3. Model digital age work and learning.
  4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility.
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership.

from Standards for Teachers.

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