Read & Write Goldv10 Upcoming Workshops

The divisional use of Read & Write Gold is one of the tools that staff and students have the opportunity to use in the learning environment to remove barriers for our students. Ongoing professional development in the uses of RWG is important. There are three upcoming workshop sessions planned. Please see below the information, dates and registration links for each of them.


RWG Research and Study Skills Workshop

Oct.1, 2012  8:30am – 11:30am Poplar room

Attendees will work with Fact Finder, Fact Mapper and Fact Folder for gathering research, logging research facts and visually mapping a research topic. As well we will look at Study Skills tools to facilitate active reading, writing and learning. Examples include highlighting and extracting text from Word documents and websites to create study guides, outlines or complete assignments and the ease in using the Vocabulary List Builder. Please bring a laptop with RWGv10 installed to this session. As well you will sign up for an Edmodo account to access the workshop files. Registration LINK.


RWG Reading Features Overview Workshop

Oct. 16, 2012  1-4pm Board room

Participants will obtain an in-depth overview of the reading support tools found in this program. Topics to be covered will include: customizing speech options, accessing digital content found in Microsoft Word, the internet, PDFs and DAISY books, accessing inaccessible text, locked PDFs and text in image files, the Dictionary and Picture Dictionary, the Word and Paragraph Translator, Speech Maker, as well as other reading support tools including Scanning and Screen Masking. Please bring a laptop with RWGv10 installed to this session. As well you will sign up for an Edmodo account to access the workshop files. Registration LINK.


RWG Writing Support Tools Workshop

Nov. 1, 2012   1-4pm Board room

Topics to be covered will include: Fact Mapper and Fact Folder for writing, Speech Input, Word Prediction, Word Wizard, Speak While Typing, Verb Conjugation Checker, Spell Checker, Homophone and Confusable Word Checker. Please bring a laptop with RWGv10 installed to this session. As well you will sign up for an Edmodo account to access the workshop files. Registration LINK.


If you have any further questions, please contact Nicole Lakusta at or via a phone call!

By slitech

Edmodo deployment in PSD

Edmodo is a free and secure social networking platform for teachers, students, parents and school administrators.  With the larger number of PSD teachers taking advantage of this platform to work with their students and colleagues in an anytime, anyplace fashion, a district-wide Edmodo domain has been created. This offers an opportunity, for any interested teachers, to be able to use this platform to set up classrooms, host assignments, engage in class discussions, share materials with colleagues, etc.


The PSD Edmodo URL is

1)    If you already have an Edmodo account, send a quick email to Nicole (  with your school name so that you can get your school code and then log in as per usual.

2)    If you do not have an account, send an email to Nicole ( with your school name so that a specific school code will be sent to you, then sign up by selecting the “I’m a Teacher” button on the


Professional Development

1)    There are many archived teacher trainings found at the Edmodo site at .


2)    The following in-house PD opportunities have been scheduled:

Edmodo – the Basics PD session on Tuesday, May 29th from 3:30pm – 4:30pm in the Larch Room.


Edmodo – Networking Opportunities on Thursday, June 7th from 3:30pm – 4:30pm in the Larch Room

By slitech

How to have Early Years students blogging

This a sample and brainwave example is from slide 15 of 103 Interesting Ways to use an iPad in the classroom. Today I was reviewing the Interesting Ways GDocs when slide 15 really intrigued me so much that I had to try it out for myself! I quickly got out my iPad, searched my various note taking apps and then I scooted over to my laptop to get onto my admin page of a WordPress blog. In our school division over the past year we have been preaching the benefits of having students blogging to share their learning, to reflect on critical challenges posed in activities, to comment on classmates thoughts and work and to start to build an eportfolio of sorts. When I saw the idea of a notetaking app and a quick email into WordPress I was ready to try it out to see how quick and easy it hopefully would turn out to be. Well, I wasn’t disappointed! Below is the example that I created for Bo, a fictious Kindergarten student. He has taken a picture of the class color posters and is commenting on which is his favorite color.

Set up
1) Install Upad Lite on iPad.
2) In your admin side of your WordPress account, in Dashboard go to My Blogs, under Post by Email click “enable” and you will then receive a specific email address to this WordPress account. 3) Copy this email address and paste it into your Contacts app on your iPad.
4) In Upad Lite set up a different notebook for each student. Title of the book is the students’ first name.

Student directions (trust me, show them a couple of times and they’ll easily do this!)
1) Open up Upad lite, go to own Notebook.
2) Start a page or + to add another page in their Notebook.
3) Draw, type, or add photos.
4) At the top of the page, click the bolt image (settings) and then email image.
5) An email page will pop up and in the TO: ……section, click + and choose the specific Contact name that has been set up for the class blog.
6) Choose SEND and your student has now made a blog post! (See the example below, this is from page 2 of Bo’s notebook.)

Sent from my iPad

By slitech

Young Canadians in a Wired World

In 2011, the Media Awareness Network began Phase III of its ongoing study Young Canadians in a Wired World. This qualitative research study was based on structured interviews with Canadian teachers. They were asked about the role played by digital technology in their personal lives and professional practice. Below is a summary of the study.

During the study, teachers volunteered their opinions about their students’ abilities in using digital media effectively, gaining digital literacy skills, enriching learning with technology and managing technology in the classroom.

With the influx of video, audio, chat, SMS, links and webpages, teachers are noting that it continues to be VERY important for students to learn about not only the tools but also the strategies for authenticating the information they find online.

These teachers identified five main challenges that they face in helping students get the most out of digital media:

1)    The pressure to teach technical skills instead of digital literacy skills;

2)    The impulse to revert to “drill and kill” teaching methods;

3)    The potential for digital technologies to be disruptive in the classroom;

4)    The shortage of PD opportunities for teachers to learn how to integrate technology effectively;

5)    The value of digital media in allowing teachers to appeal to different learning styles.

Overall, teachers were positive towards digital media, yet they did acknowledge the challenge of student and teacher privacy when using these devices in the learning environment. As long as students are shown how to engage critically with the digital media they consume and consider the online ethical ramifications, teachers felt that technology continues to provide tremendous learning opportunities.

 “The biggest skill students need is a moral compass. Today’s students are not just users of digital media, they are citizens of the online world.”

For the full report of Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III – Teacher’s Perspectives please visit the MNet Site.

By slitech

Read & Write Gold v10 Training Sessions

With the recent upgrade of RWG from version 8.1, Learning Services is offering a variety of training sessions for any interested staff members. We will introduce some of the new features of RWG as well as some effective techniques and ideas in using this robust software program. A variety of training sessions have been posted to the PD Calendar. A.


Ensuring that staff and students make purposeful and intentional use of Read & Write Gold v10, the following professional development sessions are being offered:

  • RWG v10 Training Session 1 and 2 – this is an initial training for 1-2 members at your school site. We have recently added more seats to these half-day sessions. Dates and Times: Session 1 runs on February 16th at Centre for Ed – Board Room from 1-4pm, Session 2 runs on March 12th at Centre for Ed – Board Room from 1-4pm. Specifics on each session will be found on the PD links provided above.
  • RWG v10 VC Training Session 1 on February 29th from 3:30-4:30pm – these VC sessions are unique in that we will simultaneously be training 3 different sites within the school division. If you are in the Spruce Grove area and are interested in this session, please sign up HERE. If you are in Stony Plain, sign up HERE. If you are in the West End, sign up HERE. Judi Holton and Nicole Lakusta will be hosting this session via the Stony Plain site. Thanks to Gail and Shawn for collaborating in this opportunity! We will be looking at the new voices, speech controls, translation of languages and revealing the new picture dictionary.
  • RWG v10 VC Training Session 2 on March 22nd from 3:30 – 4:30pm – more simultaneous training in 3 different sites within the school division. If you are in the Spruce Grove area and are interested in this session, please sign up HERE. If you are in Stony Plain, sign up HERE. If you are in the West End, sign up HERE. We will be developing student vocabulary lists, producing study notes via highlighting and using Screen Reader to read text (on and offline).
  • RWG v10 VC Training Session 3 on April 5th from 3:30-4:30pm – training in 3 different sites within the school division. If you are in the Spruce Grove area and are interested in this session, please sign up HERE. If you are in Stony Plain, sign up HERE. If you are in the West End, sign up HERE. We will be reviewing and updating the process of scanning books and documents, downloading text to mp3 and editing scanned materials.


Other RWG training opportunities can be customized to fit your learning needs. Please contact Nicole Lakusta to set this up.

By slitech

Techevolution in the Library

The library,  the resource centre, the media centre…..whatever it is called in your school or school division, the resources in print, on computers and the personnel are still an important part of a school community. Many teachers, students and librarians use this ‘centre’ in a variety of ways.  With the 24/7 access on the internet to materials, books, videos, quotes,  information and research, how do librarians continue to encourage the use of this centre in their school building?

Three ways to join the “techevolution in the library”

These three ways come from librarians sharing their ideas via their blogs, on twitter and on websites.

1) 60 second recap – one way to interest students in reading is to have them view a 60 second summary of the book. This website does a great job of hosting these brief clips. If there isn’t a recap for a particular book that you have in your collection, you can send the group an email to request a recap, which I think is a neat idea. Or, better yet, could a local student who already has read the book do a 60 second recap which could then be saved on a school or library webpage?

2) QR codes – the Digitization 101 blog does a wonderful job of explaining QR codes and their uses in libraries. They have much information, resources and slideshows that certainly will help the novice learner. If you are interested in trying out QR codes in your library but still would like some support, feel free to contact me and I can come over to assist you in this process.

3) Connect with other librarians – Diigo is a social bookmarking site that hosts various groups. Once you have a Diigo membership, which is free, you can join any group of your liking. In searching for librarian groups I came across 292 of them! So, there is a few to choose from. What is nice about a Diigo group is that any websites and/or information that group members bookmark online and choose for their group to view get’s automatically updated into your list! Once again, if you would like to know more about social bookmarking (making your bookmarks available online and anywhere you want to access them) and using social bookmarking groups to your advantage, please do not hesitate to get a hold of me at

Try one during the first part of 2012, you will be glad you did!

Image source:


By slitech

Winter VC and Skype Opportunities

Earlier this year I spoke about the Videoconference page that has been set up for PSD teachers to gain access to a variety of videoconferencing opportunities hosted by 2Learn/VCRLN as well as showcasing a number of other organizations that one could VC into with students.



Once your class has connected virtually with another group, please share your experiences with us via our 184 Days of Learning blog. We would love hearing about your experience!

By slitech

Don’t Miscalcul8, Explore Math Blogs

'math notebooking' photo (c) 2009, Jimmie - license: this math problem:
Two trains, 300 kilometres apart, travel toward each other along the same track. The first train at 100 km/h, the second at 150 km/h. A fly buzzes back and forth between the two trains until they collide. If the fly’s speed is 200 km/h, how far will it travel?

The math curriculum has certainly changed since the above classic math problem was first posed. As math teachers of today’s active, multi-modal students, we need to continually look for ways to successfully develop numeracy connections to their background experiences and the world around them.

Great resources can be found through teacher connections, on the Alberta Education site, checking the LearnAlberta workspace, asking your Twitter PLN (professional learning network), attending specific professional development sessions and even math readings.

It is the last piece – reading about meaningful math experiences– that I will address.

Where can one find good Math blogs, resources and strategies gathered in one place?

Simple. Look for blogs, talk to colleagues and set up an RSS reader page. Wait a minute, that didn’t sound so simple! Ah yes, back to simple. There already is a math RSS website set up for you. Check out where there are teacher math blogs, tagged resources, Khan academy videos, ERLC PD sessions, Discovery Education Canada streaming video clips grouped in specific grade levels and a podcast.

This math page updates continuously so it’s easy to visit – just bookmark it.

If you have other sites you frequent that you believe would benefit being found here, please let pass it on! If you already have a Netvibes site set up I can send you this whole Math tab to include in your feeds. If you use another RSS Aggregator and want to add the resources to your site, just click on ‘Share’ at the top right corner of each resource that you would like!

If this has peaked your interest in setting up an RSS Aggregator site of your own, just let me know, I’ll be glad to assist you!

By slitech

A.T. + E.T. + I.T. = a gr8 way 2 personalize learning!

Over the past several years, I have happily used the Diigo social bookmarking site to gather the pertinent online information that I sift through daily. With my Diigo Google Chrome extension I happily save many websites! That piece, in itself is a lifesaver when it comes to looking for specific info that I have ‘squirreled’ away. Yet, this is not the only thing that I really like about Diigo. I find the REAL power of Diigo is connecting with other people and groups. I will further explain the GROUPS portion of Diigo:

1)      Via My Groups you can set up a group for a specific grade level and invite fellow teachers to join and share their resources. Anything they bookmark on Diigo and tag to this specific group is sent to all members (you can set this email feature for daily, weekly or monthly email updates). It’s a great way to receive resource ideas from other people.


2)     Join a group that already exists. Some favorites include:

  1. AT in SpEd which is geared toward finding and sharing info about AAC research, communication and Assistive Technology.
  2. Special Education Technology Integration. This group is all abo0ut websites that aid in the usages of tech in the special education classroom.
  3. Literacy with ICT. A group working to implement Literacy with ICT across the curriculum in their schools.
  4. Google in Education. A group of educators using Google Apps in Schools.
  5. Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative. A companion tool for CoSN’s new Leadership for Mobile Learning Initiative.
  6. SETSIG UDL Playground. This group aggregates and tags sites and tools that are useful in creating UDL instructional learning experiences for every student.

Diigo is a powerful tool in collecting, cataloging and sharing resources. If you would like to start your Diigo experience visit You will be glad you did!

By slitech

Videoconferencing Opportunities

'Videoconferencing from Microsoft labs' photo (c) 2006, Lars Plougmann - license:

With eleven different videoconference units within the school division, there is great opportunity to collaborate and connect virtually with other classrooms within and outside of PSD. How does a teacher get started, understand the possible uses, and what organizations are delivering sound educational distance learning opportunities?



The Beginning
1) If your school has a VC unit, find out how to use it and if it or the classroom needs to be booked out. If your school does not have a VC unit, feel free to connect with another school or book the Centre for Ed Board room.
2) Do a test run of the set up and call out to another site. This can be done with another school or via Darhyn (I.T.) or Leah (Director, Learning Services).

The Middle
3) Knowing what kinds of organizations offer distance learning sessions is important. Take time to view the 27+ listed on the PSDtechPD – VCpage.
4) Possible uses: PD of staff, collaborating with another peer group, creating dialogue between foreign language students, holding a global ‘show, tell and critical thinking’ session, speaking with international experts, sharing experiences with peers from a different culture, discovering alternative views about current events, learn about remote environments on earth and out in space, etc.
5) Establish what kind of VC you are going to be a part of: point-to-point, multi-point, student project, basic collaboration and how does this fit into your curriculum?

The Closing
6) Contact the organization(s) and set up your meeting time(s).
7) It’s also a good thing to send a HELPdesk ticket ahead of time with the dial-in information, date and time of the event so that Darhyn can ensure that you VC experience will be as smooth as possible.
8) Share your experiences – have students blog their thoughts, connect with their VC counterpart in real-time on a collaborative workspace, put it in the school newsletter or on the school website.

Once you participate in ONE videoconference session, you will certainly be looking for future opportunities for your students. To keep on top of opportunities sign up for the 2Learn VCRLN listserv as 2Learn provides a wide variety of VC events and activities throughout the school year for both students and teachers.

By slitech