VISNet Teaching Academy 2013


I will be presenting on the second day of a  2.5 day workshop presented by VISNet for teachers across the state. I am  presenting a session on learning with iPads after my school completed a successful first year with each of our students in grades 5 through 8 having a school iPad 24/7. This presentation is similar to what I did at the NCAIS Innovate conference last February.

I want to thank Nearpod for providing 3 teacher accounts as door prizes for my sessions. Check them out as they offer a wonderful solution for harnessing the power of the iPad for learning.

This link will take you directly to the slideshow where you can make a copy or leave comments.

This QR code will take you to the Google Presentation as well.


The presentation I will be using is below.

Shameless Summer Camps Plug


Image from:

For the past number of years, I have conducted camps with the help of students whom I have taught. This year we are offering Scratch and Gamestar Mechanic. If you are interested in having your children attend a camp where they will be challenged in a nurturing environment to either extend what they already know or begin the process of learning how to create games with computer programming language.


To register please go to the Durham Academy Summer Program website.

Scratch Computer Programming with Mr. Schaefer

Rising Grades: 2-9
Week/Time: Week 5 Afternoon  (WK 5 PM IS FULL); Week 6 Afternoon
Location: US Computer Lab
Max Enrollment: 19
Price: $190

Imagine, Program and Share are the key elements of what the free Scratch software can allow campers to create. The software is free, the application is logical and campers will be supported in their learning of the programming language by a seasoned crew of instructors. Young people need to be exposed to programming at an early level to learn how the technology behind computers and games actually work and this is a great camp for that exposure. Come to this camp and “scratch” the programming itch!

From the Scratch website:
“Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web.
As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.”

Get Your Game On with Mr. Schaefer

Instructor:         Karl Schaefer
Rising Grades:    3-9
Week/Time:     Week 6 Morning
Location:           US Computer Lab
Max Enrollment:  19
Price:                $190
Get Your Game On with Mr. Schaefer will take you from a player of games to a creator of games. Using the amazing online community of Gamestar Mechanic, campers will solve quests to earn sprites and other game resources. Campers will learn to build their own games which can be shared into Game Alley for play by other gamers. Campers will be instructed in building games based on challenges provided to them by the talented team of instructors. Gamestar is a wonderful introduction to game design and drag and drop computer programming. All campers will receive a lifetime membership to Gamestar Mechanic for use after camp.

Quote from website:
Gamestar Mechanic is a game and online community that teaches kids how to design their own games. Designing games builds Systems Thinking, 21st Century Skills, Creative Problem Solving, Art and Aesthetics, Writing and Storytelling, and creates a motivation for STEM learning.”

NCAIS 21st Century Teacher Academy – August 2012

This is the first day of a 2.5 day workshop presented by NCAIS for teachers across the state. I am lucky enough to be presenting a session on Harnessing the Resources on the web for teachers and students. We will be learning about iTunes U, Khan Academy, Edutopia, SAS Curriculum Pathways, MIT K12, TED Ed, YouTube for Teachers, and other resources that teachers and students can easily integrate into their teaching and learning. 

 This link will take you directly to the slideshow if you prefer.

The presentation I will be using is below.

NCAIS 21st Century Teacher Academy – July 2012

North Carolina Association of Independent Schools 1

This is the first day of a 2.5 day workshop presented by NCAIS for teachers across the state. I am lucky enough to be presenting a session on Google Apps, Google Reader and Twitter. We will be working on exposure to the tools and perhaps helping current users go deeper in their use to build a PLN or Personal Learning Network.

 This link will take you directly to the slideshow if you prefer.

The presentation I will be using is below.

Google Reader List of my favorites blogs

This link is for a collaborative Google Document I hope to use with the participants.

Getting Digital Again


After a wonderful summer break where I worked around the farm, played with grandchildren and rested,  I headed to the NCAIS 21st Century Teacher Academy today to listen to David McGeary. I am presenting tomorrow on VoiceThread and doing an Ignite presentation tonight as part of the NCAIS Master Teacher program. I am doing my Ignite on the premise of old technology committee meeting notes. I hope the humor is not lost on the audience. The idea is that the more things change, in education, many things stay the same. Check it out if you want as it will not embed for some reason.

I have written about that program in past posts. Next week I head back to work to get ready for the school year. There are many changes awaiting me next week with a new Moodle setup (both Moodle 2.0 and being hosted at Moodlerooms), Lion OS on the lab computers. I look forward to the challenges that lay before me as I will appreciate the change from trying to keep the squash bugs away from my squash and instead getting used to the scrolling in Lion.

Change in Leadership



‘Time for Change’


At the end of each school year we say goodbye to students and colleagues who will not be returning. This year we said goodbye to Dr. Sid DuPont who has guided us for the last 3 years as the Interim Middle School Director. Dr. D. was one of the best administrators I have had the pleasure of working with and will be missed by me for his willingness to try new teaching methods and for the support he showed me and our division as we adjusted our instructional methods to take advantage of the changes taking place in education and the world. Thanks. Dr. DuPont!

I am excited to work with Mr. Jon Meredith as the new Middle School Director. I believe he will pick-up where Dr. DuPont left off as he leads us into the future with care and his ideas. In preparation for his arrival, I created a VoiceThread for students and teachers to leave their comments as a way to welcome Mr. Meredith and provide some information to him so he could get to know us before we return in August. I asked commenters to introduce themselves, tell where they are on campus, what their Hopes, Dreams are for the Middle School, and Knowledge needed by Mr. Meredith. Finally, they were able to ask questions of Mr. Meredith. This was an optional activity but as I write this post there are 470 comments and 291 views. I will email the link to Mr. Meredith so he can begin to feel welcomed by our voices.


New Year, New Course, New Moodle

After a summer of healing my broken arm and enjoying my grandchildren, I am ready for the newness that awaits. I have again become digitalkarl after spending most of the summer in analogkarl mode. Except for two weeks when I did summer camps on Lego Mindstorms and Scratch, I was not on a computer. I did listen to my iPod often on walks and did “read” Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. A great book and one my daughter will be teaching to her 8th grade students using the Young Readers edition. I would think it would be perfect for our 8th grade students as well.

Onto the title:

New school year is full of promise and changes as new technologies are introduced as well as new teachers, students to our middle school. I am now leading an early bird workshop with 5 teachers who are learning about our new technology skills matrix based on ISTE’s NETS skills. I am thrilled with how the workshop is going so far as teachers are receptive, engaged and providing great feedback in the VoiceThreads and Moodle Discussion Forums. This is great because all MS Faculty will be using this course next week during the kickoff to getting ready for school. It is my first attempt to have a true online workshop in Moodle that can be self-directed if so desired. My hope is this will free teachers to learn on their own or to complete it when they have time and use the time dedicated in the start up week to the most pressing issue which may or may not be attending a workshop with me.

New Course: Foundations of Technology for 5th and 6th graders. I will be teaching a trimester course  where we will address these ISTE technology skills. I am excited to finally have this course in the schedule as it has taken 4 years. The course is now part of the Fine Arts rotation which means the final spoke on the 6th wheel will not be the ability to take one of the Fine Arts from the existing rotation. In most of life, we live in a zero sum world, and in order to fit in this technology course, we dropped this choice. The rotation also means that a student could have been here for almost 2 years before they take a technology course. Still, it is better to have one then not as has been the case. Integration into core classes has been pretty successful, but this course will allow me to focus directly on what I think students should be learning and not embedding it into other projects. My course will be totally project based with students assembling a digital portfolio in their own VoiceThread.

New Moodle: The Middle School now has our own Moodle server as we have installed a separate Internet connection on our campus. The new address is This new 20 mbps connection should really help with load time and computer use. Please adjust your bookmarks to reflect this new address.

Summer Camps and the Programming is Fun! but not that Easy:(

For the past 3 summers I have run Lego Mindstorm NXT camps and Scratch camps for children aged 8 – 13. I employ 3 or 4 helpers who in fact are much more then that as they rush about showing campers how to use the software and hardware. I could never do it without them.

Checkout the camp wiki.

This summer has presented me with a challenge I never have faced, a broken radius bone in my left wrist. I fell unloading hay on May 16, 2010 and suffered a compound fracture that required surgery and an external fixation device. I am healing, but slowly and have had to learn how to not do most of what I am used to doing in the summer. I have learned how to sit still and how to ask for help. I also had the rest of our hay delivered:) I will be ready for the training I will offer teachers in a few weeks as well as teaching my new Foundations of Technology Course.

Here is what I called “Rodney” as he is gone but will be sent to Nicaragua someday to be reused.


To learn more about the EFD

Camps going well

Good numbers of students learning Lego Mindstorms. Check out the pictures and movies at Week two is underway with pictures coming soon. Scratch and Alice camps have had smaller numbers but still working out nicely. We just showed the campers how to create a pong game with scoring. Check out our wiki, gallery and photos.

Summer Camps and Audio Boo

I am in the middle of doing the two summer camps I started last year. Lego Mindstorms and Scratch with some Alice. Lego has been full with this week’s camp having 21 campers. Check out the wiki for more information and pictures.

I have also started testing out Audio Boo on my iPod Touch. It is a free application for the iPod or iPhone that allows recording and posting to a web site. I think it is an interesting concept and wonder how teachers might use it with their Moodle courses. There could be an RSS of audio recorded by the teacher showing up in their Moodle course. Check mine out at DigitalKarl