Thursday, September 4, 2014

In Memory of Robin Williams (his appearance in Chicago by EllenLDegeneres)

We lost such a talent and an extraordinary human being, Robin Williams. I was so upset about this piece of news as if I lost somebody close from my family!
I created a playlist on my Youtube with Robin Willams' performances: interviews, TV programs, fragments from his movies, to enjoy his wit, humor, hear his reflections on  the ups and downs of his life and acting.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Intense September

I will have a very intense and full of events September. Beginning of the new semester, starting teaching a new graduate course "Reading and Literature," supervising student teachers, and the list can go on and on. One of the most exciting events in September will be Healthy and Sustainable Living MOOC, that I will be moderating together with my husband and my friend-colleague, Dr. Nellie Deutsch. Here is the information about the MOOC:
Whoever reads my blog, please join and spread the word about this amazing program!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

the Violin scene from ep 6 season 4 of LOUIE on FX 2 new eps every Monday at 10pm set by Louis C.K.

Teacher Channel, Twitter Widget and a Summer Book Club

I have just come across with an interesting piece of information for teachers who would like to have free professional development during the summer months with the Teaching Channel.
The Teacher Laureate and promoter of the channel, Sarah Brown, invited educators to view videos about the innovative teaching approaches and also to participate in the first ever held Teacher Channel reading club held on on Twitter - the hashtag is #tchLIVE.

The Teaching Channel team sent out a poll to see what teachers wanted to read and the winner is: Daniel Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. 
Mark your calendar for a #TchLIVE chat with Sarah on July 31st, 7PM EST. 
The details are all here.
Here is the Twitter club widget:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Three Reasons to Take the ThingLink Teacher Challenge This Summer | ThingLink Blog

Summer is the time for exploring new things and getting up to date with new developments in education and learning technologies.

Here is a great opportunity for your Professional development. Grab it!

The ThingLink Teacher Challenge is a free, self-paced, online summer professional development opportunity designed to help teachers transform classroom teaching and e-learning with ThingLink, an easy-to-use interactive image and video platform.
This challenge invites teachers to learn to use interactive images to redefine learning in the classroom. Learn how to connect audio, video, images, and text in one cohesive presentation during this self-paced professional development opportunity. Here are three reasons to participate:

Read more on ThingLink Blog.
3 Reasons to Take the ThingLink Teacher Challenge This Summer | ThingLink Blog:

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Summer Global Adventures

This summer is rich in my virtual and face-to-face presentations about an engaged learning and teaching. In the beginning of June, I present at Moodle MOOC 4 on WizIQ.

Each year I start a new semester and inform my classes that the major format of my courses will be cooperative and collaborative learning. I always notice the change of expression in a number of faces. As a rule, those teacher candidates that expressed disappointment, had a bad experience during their schools years with "cooperative" group work. From further conversations and discussions, they share that they were completing all work in the assigned group projects but everybody in the group would get the same high grade. Unfair! This confession happens each year. It takes a while, almost a semester, to convince these students to start appreciating the value of cooperative/collaborative learning. If done correctly, cooperative/collaborative learning is a powerful and meaningful method.  That's what my session will be about. I will share the research findings, best practices and my personal experience on how to create positive collaborative learning communities.
I will be presenting my talk via WizIQ, a web-based platform. I have been using WizIQ since 2008. First, in my online classes when I was assigned to teach classes in the summer or during winter interim but was traveling abroad. I was also using WizIQ when I was asked to share my experience with the Web 2.0 tools. In 2009, when I started closely collaborating with Dr. Nellie Deutsch on a variety of projects, we were using WizIQ for coordinating Moodle workshops, IWE global projects, or moderating Connected Online conferences, Spring Blog festival, and now Moodle MOOCs. It is such a rewarding experience! WizIQ is a space where talented, creative and skillful educators meet, collaborate and exchange ideas and most importantly generously share their mastership with each other and the learners from all over the world.

No Pain No Gain

Wouldn't it be nice to have received such a message?


Receiving the news about not being accepted to the Google Teacher Academy this year was sad but not unexpected. It is a very competitive program. I was creating my GTA one minute video with a new App (Sparkol VideoScribe) during the most difficult and busiest time, the end of the school year... But I do not regret that I did it! I communicated, networked, and was in touch with the most creative educators on Twitter.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Google Teacher Academy Application 2014 - Classroom Innovation #GTAMTV

It is boring to live without a challenge! I love challenging myself! This time is a desire to join the community of Google educators! I was reading blog posts, tweets about Google Academy and viewed videos that teacher were creating to participate in this professional development program. I was jealous of the spirit and the excitement with which the posts or twitter messages were shared. I started dreaming to become a part of this community. I explored my options. Google invites teachers to apply for a Google Teacher Academy in different parts of the world throughout the year. I was thinking to apply several times but either the time or the place were not suitable.

This year I chose to participate in the summer session. There were  two programs offered: one in June, in Atlanta, but at the time when I am in Finland, presenting at the EdMedia conference.

So I applied for July GTA in Mountain View, CA.

The application consists of several parts. One of them is creating a one minute video. I created my video-story with Sparkol VideoScribe, the iPad application. It was quite an ordeal. The VideoScribe application seems to be still in a beta mode, it has some bugs, it was freezing a lot, or  would crush when I was about to publish the video. I spent hours to make it work... The application was perfect for setting up the story line within 1 min (better 59.6 sec). Adding music and the voice over was somewhat easy, as well. But it took me so much time to make it work. I would add music but the voice would not be recorded, or I would record the voice over, but the audio recording would not be alined with the pictures exactly how I planned it to be... Or when I would RE-record my story, the voice recording would be lost... BUT I didn't give up! I did it.  I submitted my application as a gift to myself of Mother's Day!

This is a very popular and competitive program! I noticed there were many school teachers, technologies among the applicants. I didn't see the videos of college professors. Hopefully I have a chance to win in this category!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Presenting at EdMedia 2014 Conference

I enjoy participating in AACE/EdMedia conferences. I have been a member of AACE since 2010. I love this community of passionate and generously sharing their knowledge and skills of teaching with
technology educators.

My colleague and friend, Nellie Deutsch, and I have been presenting workshops and papers at this conference already several years on a row. This year, in Finland, we will run a workshop and present a paper together.


  Let's Moodle: Getting Up and Running with Moodle 2.6

 I also encouraged one of my research students, Lindsay Bordonaro, to submit a proposal. How excited and proud I was to find out that Lindsay's proposal was accepted and she will present at the conference in June. The topic of her presentation is: Exploring the Use of iPads for Engaged Learning in the Elementary Classroom: A Survey of Teachers.
I am doing my best to raise money to support Lindsay and make her trip to the conference a reality!

More tools for Formative Assessment

I have just come across with this new tool Geddit that can be used with iPhones, any tablets and/or computers in the beginning (Entry ticket), during, and in the end (Exit ticket) of the lesson.

Here is a video that explains how it works:

Amazing what teachers can do with the use of new technologies to reach every student in class and help them learn and progress.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Presenting at CELL conference 2014

I am presenting at the CELL conference "Family, Community, School: Literacy Connections"
and created a list of resources for my presentation at Join my session at 10:20 AM, use the hashtag #cell14_drS to tweet about it and stay connected.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge #sol14 My Missed Tuesday SOL

Wow! It is already Wednesday. I forgot to write my Tuesday's Slice of Life challenge story. I will write it anyway!

Tastes Differ!
I had a guest coming over. Half of the day was spent cooking. Oh, it is a good topic for a slice of life. Cooking helps me to relax. I enjoy cooking especially when I welcome somebody to my home and introduce to the Russian culture. I usually prepare the Russian dishes. This time I made my favorite beet salad. Not all Americans love beets, by the way. But when they try my beet salad (boiled and shredded beets, garlic and walnuts + Russian mayo), they fall in love with this amazing dish!

I also made the Russian soup (in Russia it is called "Schee") and Salmon in a hazelnut flour! Hm! Yummy! I enjoy making dishes with kale lately. I never knew about kale in my previous Russian life.
I learned about kale, here, in the U.S. I read a lot about this fantastic source of energy, its important diverse ingredients that help to stay healthy, young, and fit. See it for yourself in the inforgraphics below!

I make smoothies, salads, soups, and garnish side dishes with kale. Absolutely LOVE it! Of course, it is a matter of taste and acceptance. My guest chose other dishes I cooked, instead. Tastes differ!

It was really a relaxing day but then, when my friend left, I had to catch up with the work I hadn't done.

I am getting ready for a big event starting on Friday, Spring BLOG Festival.

I will present on "Blogging to Reflect."

I am behind with reading and commenting on my 4 classes student blogs and assignments. No time to breeze. That's the slice of my life.

I will do my best to not miss blogging next Tuesday!

Day 11 of the March SOLSC! #sol14 | TWO WRITING TEACHERS:
'via Blog this'

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SpeakPipe - receive voice messages from your audience directly on your website.

Today is Tuesday and I encouraged my Literacy and Technology class to accept "Slice of Life"challenge.

I plan to participate in this challenge myself.

There is so much you can write about. I have learned a lot of things today. Besides reading students' assignments and posts on eClass forums, I joined webinars "Mapping for Common Core" from the PD Common Core 360 website. I would recommend school districts and pre-service teachers to join the site and participate in these webinars to be enlightened on how to map the curriculum with Common Core Standards.

I sent a message to Donna Perk, a teacher from Bishop Dunn Memorial School and shared some resources on teaching with iPads and Smart Boards.

While I was browsing Google + communities I came across @One Community moderated by one of my virtual friends, Michelle Pakansy-Brock. I enjoy seeing how Michelle is progressing with her career as an online professor, the author of the book Best Practices for Teaching with Emergent Technologies, a moderator of several communities and a keynote presenter at the conferences and symposiums. She presented at the SLN SOL Summit in NYC in February 2014 on How to Help Faculty to Humanize Online Teaching and Learning ExperienceImpressive!
I am surprised how much Michelle and I have in common as far as online course design and implementation is concerned!

When I read Michele's blog, I learned about an interesting tool, called SpeakPipe, a voice comments tool. I will try it out (it is free!). I am curious how it will work for my students. I added Kaizena to my g-docs to provide voice comments on the pre-service teachers' lesson plans.  It didn't work well to begin with. The team sent a message recently that they improved the programs an added more tools to it. I will add this tool to my toolkit and use it in my classes to provide voice comments.

It is time-consuming and overwhelming at times to learn about new tools! I immediately try them out.

SpeakPipe - receive voice messages from your audience directly on your website.:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A New Jouney Begins

Today was the first classes in the Spring of 2014 semester. I am always curious what the students will be like, how well they are prepare for accepting the challenges, how tech savvy they are.

I always share with them the videos about the Net generation students in today's classrooms. I am surprised that in most cases, teacher candidates haven't see these videos and haven't heard about the term Web 2.0

Below is one of the videos I usually share with teacher candidates, "The Vision of Students of Today."

I enjoy seeing the change of students' face expressions, and love discussing why it was important for me to share the video with them. 

During the first week of classes, I use as an ice-breaker, an activity where each student is assigned a Web 2.0 tool that they have to learn about and use to introduce themselves. It is so exciting to see how quickly teacher candidates learn the tools, how creatively they use them to express themselves and then how proudly they share their new learning with the whole class.

I challenge them to use this activity as their first teaching experience to the whole class. It is much more challenging to teach to your own peers than to the elementary school children! Some teacher candidates confess that this presentation really breaks their fear, stage fright, and helps them develop confidence.

I am excited to learn about MoveNote and I have used it already to introduce myself and all Moodle classes to my students from the four courses.

Here it is, one of the introductions: