Data and Innovation

by Beth Knittle on April 14, 2016

Repeatedly we hear the call to base everything on data driven research, not a bad idea in itself but when you live in the world of technology and innovation then it possess quite a stumbling block. How can you collect data on the future? It takes years to develop a good research plan, carry it out and draw any conclusion.  Somebody has to go first.

Districts that will only make decisions based on what has gone on before will forever be behind and out of sync with technology and modern learning environments. How does that serve our students and communities to prepare them for the technology rich, mobile and ever changing landscape in the modern economy? It is quite a balancing act to incorporate both data and innovation.


Google Training

by Beth Knittle on March 5, 2016

I have been quite busy preparing for a major PD initiative in supporting an ever expanding number of Chromebooks and more innovated use of Google Tools.  I have to say Google has created a large number of pathways to learn it’s apps and to test ones knowledge.  I like the idea of tests and certification on these tools.  It would be a wonderful thing if schools using google apps required their teachers and new hires to be google certified teachers.  It would be good way to know they have basic tech skills which are still lacking amongst many educators.

Want to learn more:




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Change is Ahead

by Beth Knittle on December 31, 2015

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) had just release new draft standards for Digital Literacy and Computer Science  These, if adopted, will replace the current standards adopted in 2008.   ISTE is also undergoing a refresh in the standards draft standards should be released in Jan 2016. It will be interesting to see what changes will be made.

I am excited to see the addition of computational thinking and computer science.  I strongly believe these are necessary for success in our modern economy particularly in Massachusetts.  DESE partnered with MassCAN and MassCUE to develop these standards.

The new standards are divided into 4 strands:

Computing and Society

  • Safety and Security
  • Ethics and Laws
  • Interpersonal and Societal Impact

Digital Tools and Collaboration

  • Digital Tools
  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Research

Computing Systems

  • Computing Devices
  • Human and Computer Partnerships
  • Networks
  • Services

Computational Thinking

  • Abstraction
  • Algorithms
  • Data
  • Programming and Development
  • Modeling and Simulation

The previous standards are heavy on ethics, safety, research and basic application use.  The draft standards add computer science and computational thinking.  Many of these standards can be infused within the general curriculum but as you get to the 9-12 standards it seems more difficult to integrate into existing courses. If districts are to truly implement the computer science and programing standards then additional computer science course would need to be added at the HS level. Massachusetts does not offer a computer science license so who would teach these courses?  I have heard discussion that those with a Math, Science or Instructional Technology licenses would likely fill the need. As computer science classes become wide spread I would think creating a teaching license for CS would be desirable.

What do you think about the new standards?



November 30, 2015

My daughter’s birthday was yesterday and I spent a good portion of that day thinking about how far she has come.  It occurred to me that she has not lived up to the expectations set for her and I could not be more proud!!! She started life with a double knot in the umbilical cord, […]

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Everything Old is New Again

October 13, 2015

I feel like I am stuck in an episode of the twilight zone doomed to repeat past mistakes. It is as if someone has put my professional life on a loop. I just can’t break out of the cyclical madness of educational programs and trends. Let’s take a walk down memory lane. There are many […]

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Getting Ready for the New School Year

July 18, 2015

As soon as one school year ends it is time to get ready for the next.  For me that means that I start getting materials ready for new teacher orientation and set up new professional development for the teachers.  This year we are developing our self-serve PD using Schoology and will be adding badges to […]

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Remembering The Team Who Taught Me So Much

June 27, 2015

Once upon a time in a land far away I met an incredible group of people. We created, collaborated and learned together. Our time together changed me forever. From 2007 to 2011 I was part of a very effective and productive team, we met and worked virtually. At first only through text and later voice […]

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