Professional Development

5 Posts authored by: Jane Brown

SepNewletter_capture_200x311.pngThe good news is you are all back to school and very busy organizing your classroom activities. We know teachers have little spare time, so let us help you with new ideas to extend your professional learning network and enhance your students' learning.

  • Karen Richardson offers you strategies for Taking Technology Back to School that she has advocated in her work with our Verizon Innovative Schools program. Don't miss this feature article!
  • Visit with Amy Rudd, our Spotlighted Member of the Month.
  • Join Trending Conversations in the Thinkfinity Community.
  • Increase your learning network by joining our Featured Groups of the month to share ideas with colleagues and our Content Partner experts.
  • Experience new Classroom Materials developed by our Content Partners.
  • Read Education News and Insights blogs to stay current with technology and new ideas.
  • Learn about the Verizon Foundation App Challenge and how you can be a part of this year's challenge.

Yes, by popular demand, Verizon Foundation and staff have created a Thinkfinity Newsletter for your is designed to point you to valuable ideas and make good use of your limited time.

If you did not receive your copy by email, you can subscribe to the Newsletter on the Thinkfinity homepage, at the top of the right column, or locate the archived copies listed on the Thinkfinity Newsletters Index.  This index also is located in the Community Hub at the top of the page.

Archived Live Webinar:

"Historical Literacy and the Common Core"

with Professor Chauncey Monte-Sano from the School of Education at the University of Michigan


May 15

Great session, if you are interested in viewing the archived video of this webinar, go to



chauncey_200x200.jpgBio: Professor Chauncey Monte-Sano from the School of Education at the University of Michigan presents a webinar on building students' historical thinking and literacy skills and using primary sources with the Common Core State Standards. This presentation is designed for history and social studies teachers but is open to all interested educators.


A former high school history teacher and National Board Certified teacher, Dr. Monte-Sano is co-author of Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School History Classrooms. She was the recipient of the 2011 American Educational Association Division K Early Career Award and the 2007 Larry Metcalf Dissertation Award from the National Council of the Social Studies. She earned her PhD at Stanford University where she was a founding member of the Stanford History Education Group and was part of the team that created the award-winning website, Historical Thinking Matters.Reading Like a Historian_200x258.jpg


Chauncey Monte-Sano's scholarship centers on the teaching and learning of historical writing. She examines how adolescents learn to write reasoned historical arguments; develops history curriculum that supports students' writing; and studies how teachers learn to teach historical thinking, reading, and writing. Her current teaching emphasizes pre-service teacher education and professional development. She prepares novices for teaching history as inquiry and collaborates with veteran history teachers as they work to integrate literacy instruction and historical thinking into their classrooms via instruction and assessment. She has worked with teachers at individual schools and large school districts through a variety of projects in urban and suburban settings across the country.

Archived Webinar:

"Build Once, Learn Anywhere: Building eBooks and Other Digital Content
(Blended Learning for Mobile)"

with Heather Chirtea, from Digital Wish

May 8

Great session, if you are interested in viewing the archived video of this webinar, go to:

It will also give you access to signing up for a free Author Accounts as well.


Digital Wish's Executive Director, Heather Chirtea, demonstrates a simple way to deliver blended learning to student mobile devices using the new eBuilder. The mobile eBuilder tool allows teachers to build digital eTextbooks, activities, and lesson plans with very simple drag-and-drop skills using a computer's browser. Digital content can be saved as an "app" and downloaded to any smartphone, tablet, iOS, Android, Kindle, Mac, or Win. As a bonus, all content is searchable by the Common Core Standards. Join this demonstration of the tool, sign up for your free creator account, and get started.


Ease-of Use - In practice, the eBuilder is so easy to use, that teachers with only the most basic computer skills can build rich content in minutes - combining text, video, weblinks, and quizzes, and delivering that content immediately to any student mobile device. The eBuilder is an absolute cornerstone for any school implementing Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD) or Mobile Learning programs. Content is fluidly shared between teachers, and just as easily adapted and changed to meet the specific learning needs of any student or curriculum goals. It reduces the need for ongoing support because there are no technology barriers for late-adopting technology users. Professional Development can then focus on effective pedagogy rather than traditional tool training.


Be sure to join and follow the Digital Wish group to read about what they are doing and what they can do for you.




HeatherProfilePic_200x212.jpgBio: Heather Chirtea is Digital Wish's founder and Executive Director. At, teachers make technology wishes, and donors make those wishes come true with contributions, bringing technology to needy classrooms in all 50 states. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 30,000 classroom technology wishes through its online network of over 62,000 teachers, and delivered over $13 million in technology products to American classrooms directly impacting over 500,000 students. In research, Digital Wish secured over $1.2M in stimulus funding to put 1:1 computing into 24 towns, reducing the planning time for technology adoption from 18 months to just 4 weeks, and achieving measured gains in student engagement and 21st century skills. Read the research.


Previously, as the longstanding president of Tool Factory, an educational software publisher, Heather traveled widely throughout the United States to conduct over 400 lively seminars on classroom technology integration each year. With a dual B.S. in communications and operations management from Syracuse University, Heather has co-authored 5 books on classroom technology; designed more than 60 hands-on technology seminars for educators; launched online services for classroom clip art, worksheets, lesson plans, and formative testing and assessment; and written over 5,000 standards-based test questions. She's served on the board of directors for VITA-Learn (VT) and New England ISTE technology associations.


Digital Wish, Heather Chirtea, Executive Director,

"Maximizing STEM Learning through Online and Mobile Communications" (archived)



Did you miss this live webcast?

You can now view the archived video.

Watch for more live webcasts and join those of interest to you.

Rutgers University's Dr. Erica Boling shares her insights into using the Thinkfinity Community in Maximizing STEM Learning through Online and Mobile Communications. Learn methods for designing interactive, educational, and engaging online communities based on the findings from more than two years of research conducted on Verizon's site. Dr. Boling has successfully built and maintained interactive online communities within the Thinkfinity Community.

Note: See attached list of URLs presented in Dr. Erica's webinar, Maximizing STEM Learning through Online and Mobile Communications.



Bio: Dr. Erica C. Boling is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Boling received her Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy from Michigan State University. She has worked as an elementary school teacher in Chile, Luxembourg, and the United States. In addition, she assisted in developing the first TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification program in South Korea while working at Sookmyung Women's University. Recently the Verizon Foundation awarded Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education two grants to help equip teachers with the tools and skills needed to prepare students for success in today's digital society. Over the last few years, Dr. Boling has been overseeing the development and implementation and evaluation of educational technology programs that have emerged from these grants.


Dr. Boling's current research investigates online learning and the impact of technology on teaching and learning. She has also explored how the integration of technology can challenge fundamental beliefs that educators hold about education. Previous research projects include Teachers & Technology: New Visions of Literacy Education. This project investigated practicing teachers' knowledge, skills, and dispositions towards the integration of technology into classroom instruction. It also explored the ways in which high school teachers' uses of technology both supported and hindered student learning. Another study, Disciplined Based Literacy in Urban High Schools, was a multi-year project that involved the development, implementation, and evaluation of a teacher professional development program that was designed to increase the reading achievement of marginalized, adolescent readers. Dr. Boling's research has been reported in highly regarded, peer-reviewed journals such as Teachers College Record, English Education, Research in the Teaching of English, and Teaching and Teacher Education.

Guest post by Yolanda Ramos, Director of Professional Development Services, Education Leadership for International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a prestigious global organization dedicated to helping educators more effectively and innovatively use technology to support student learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.

VZF and ISTE PDS_403.jpgLeft to Right: Carolyn Sykora, Kristin Townsend, Linda Keller,
Justina Nixon-Saintil, Yolanda Ramos, Talbot Bielefeldt


Leveraging technology to support STEM education is a hot topic here at ISTE 2012, our 33rd annual conference taking place in beautiful San Diego, CA (June 24-27).  At this conference and exposition we discover how educators from around the world are using innovative technologies to help students expand their horizons.


There is a lot of buzz about the Verizon Foundation working with ISTE to help underserved schools use mobile technology to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  To learn more click here (or go to ).


There is a need to further engage students using technology.  Why? The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that before today's middle school students graduate from high school, the number of jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will more than double.


Over the past 10 years, STEM jobs grew three times faster than non-STEM jobs. STEM jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent during 2008–2018 versus 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM jobs.


We here at ISTE were thrilled the Verizon Foundation tapped us to help underserved schools use mobile technology to prepare students for careers in STEM. These schools are in the Verizon Innovative Learning School program, which works with underserved schools across the country, and our prestigious global organization dedicated to helping educators more effectively and innovatively use technology to support student learning in STEM will provide these schools with a robust year-long training program.





Justina Nixon-Saintil, director of education and technology for the Verizon Foundation said, “Our goal at the Verizon Foundation is to implement programs that have a positive impact on student achievement.  ISTE’s experienced Professional Development team will provide insights into the apps and tools educators can readily use to get students engaged especially in STEM subjects.”


Our innovative professional development approach – which includes both live and virtual training -- will be based on an individual needs assessment conducted at each school.


How do you use technology to bring hands-on experience to your students?


Yolanda Ramos_117.png




Post by Yolanda Ramos, Director of Professional Development Services, Education Leadership for ISTE.

For complete details, see attached document: 6-26-2012 ISTE press release