Category Archives: Professional Development

Welcome to the Riveter Lab …

Today Hamlin opened The Riveter Lab (@riveterlab) a dynamic research and design center housed within the Coreen 20150902_132307Ruiz Hester Library.

The great hall was standing room only and you could hear a pindrop as Wanda M. Holland Greene revealed the new space by cutting the ribbon and opening the doors, inviting parents to experience the space and tools their daughters will use as they build their dreams while bettering our world.

The physical shift in space marks a larger pedagogical shift that has happened at Hamlin.  We are no longer coming to school to “get information” instead girls come to Hamlin to learn how they can 20150902_090327use information to meet the challenges of their time.

The tech team thanks parents, trustees and school administration.  We know they see the Riveter Lab as we see it – a place where Hamlin girls can take their dreams … and build them.

Stop Motion capture from inside the Riveter Lab:

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Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools 2015

Hamlin was incredibly well represented at the inaugural ATLIS conference held this week in Foster City.  Five team members represented the school at the conference; and five workshops were led by Hamlin technology specialists.  Embodying our belief that the way we move from a school with pockets of innovation to a school with a culture of innovation is to share what we are doing.

Sessions varied in length, including 90 minute “deep dives”, 40 minute workshops, and 20 minute “Quick Tips”.

45 Minute Workshop by Liz Beck & Jim Lengel: Launching a New Learning Management System: Change Management Strategies

Quick Tip – Self Grading Exit Tickets and Formative Assessments Using Flubaroo:

MaKey MaKey Launch – Professional Development for Teachers

You’ve been asked to create a 1.5 hour ed tech training for teachers.

– Great!

That training will take place on a Friday afternoon, the first week back from winter break.

– Great!

Wait. Why so confident? What can you possibly do to keep teachers engaged and excited to learn about educational technology on the Friday afternoon after break?

MaKey MaKey, of course!

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  1. Introduce staff to the new making resources in the library
  2. Have fun!
  3. Encourage teachers to try something new and get out of their comfort zone.
  4. Spark excitement, enthusiasm and creativity

Training Roll Out

      • Mark Picketts, our Director of Technology and Innovation, gave an introduction to MaKey MaKey, including a short video of various MaKey Makey projects:

    • We asked teachers to self select into small groups, and sit together at a table that included:
      • A laptop
      • A MaKey MaKey
      • Various materials, such as play dough, bananas, tin foil, cardboard, markers, etc…
    • Each group was asked to read through the quick start guide, and demo the bongos or piano software (found in the Try Out of Software section of the page.)


mobile means MOBILE – field trips with iPads

reposted from EdTechTeacher

Let’s go – out and about with mobile technologies! We often acknowledge that a benefit of technology is that it can provide our students with the ability to go beyond the walls of the classroom to explore virtually the world. And as school technology becomes increasingly mobile, we are also seeing the benefits of how “taking technology along” can enhance real time field trips and involve students in real world participatory learning. Taking students to “the place” with mobiles in hand – whether it be a visit to a museum, a historic site, a local community event or contributing to a citizen science project – can add a dimension of creativity and student learning that builds on and supports our curricular goals.

Teachers are incorporating ways to make these field excursions with mobiles even more powerful than just accessing apps to listen to museum recordings or taking a few pictures or videos on the day of the trip. Involving students in working with local organizations and creating field trip guides prior to leaving stretches out the learning beyond the designated day away from school. By setting up inquiry-based projects and goals to achieve while on the trip and having students share what they have curated, collected, and created with a world wide audience can be a powerful learning experience. And when classes partner with community organizations, National or local parks, or history sites, students contribute back in meaningful ways to the locales they visit.

For example in science, teachers use citizen science apps and sites to make field trips participatory. There are many scientific organization that count on people (like your students) to move their science inquiries forward, and for students to know that they are contributing to a scientific study adds to their investment in the excursion. What students contribute on the trip matters to the world beyond the classroom.

An Illustration of this can been seen at Hamlin School in San Francisco, where science teacher Rachel Davis’ students are collecting data on therevitalization of Mountain Lake in the Presidio, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. Students use their iPads to monitor phenology, water quality, dragonfly migration, pollinators, insects and birds while in the field and report their data to scientists so that the information can be used to understand how environmental systems are changing. This is particularly important to the Presidio as scientists work on reestablishing native plants and animals to the lake which has suffered under the urban environment. Rachel partnered with the Presidio Trust to involve her students in this real world inquiry-based project – and both the students, the park and other science organizations benefit!

Students recording data in the field Image Credit: Cheryl Davis
Students recording data in the field
Image Credit: Cheryl Davis

Studying history? A web search at the Library of Congress or contacting your local historical society will most likely reveal some neighborhood or nearby history connections. Sites like The Living New Deal which works to identify and preserve New Deal sites or Photogrammar out of Yale University (where students can search photos taken by United States Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information between 1935-1945) provide primary source images and information on mapped sites which may be in your backyard. With iPad in hand, students can view downloaded images researched in advance and then have the historic documentation with them as they travel. Historic primary source photos are powerful images which can connect students to an event while they stand on the spot where it happened. With the multi-media creation tools on their iPads, students can record reflections, interviews and capture current images to compare and contrast as they participate in inquiry-based activities on the sites.

When the places on your visit list don’t have field study or museum guides that can be accessed via mobile, that’s where student involvement and research really comes in. Set up a free iTunes U course for students to access on their iPads and fill it with the “on the go” content thatyou want students to have while in the field. Students download the content from the iTunes U course on their iPads prior to take off and then they are set with all of the background information, photos and documents that you want them to access. You can map out locations, add directions for literature walks, provide instructions for poetry creations, connect to citizen science apps or data sheets, provide mind mapping or sketching tools, connect to photo montage apps or Multi-Touch books that can all be carried along easily, and used without wifi connection. The sites and sounds while students are “on location” can easily be captured with iMovie, Garageband or screen casting apps such as Explain Everything and edited on the spot for interviewing or journalism assignments. To add even more student input, have students do the research to help you create these iTunes U course guides. Posting discussion comments along the way can enhance discussion on return to class.

For extended field trips, students can take on the role of teacher or facilitator by sending content that they have created back to their home school for a virtual interface with students still in the classroom. Students can also share their skills and knowledge on data collection and curation with younger students.

So although we may not travel outside the classroom walls with our students as often as we’d like, when we do, we can use mobile technology as a learning and creation source. When you can’t take them there – virtual is wonderful – but when you can, their contributions to the records of our knowledge are invaluable – both for them and the world.

Come learn more about setting up field trips and iTunes U course guides during our February 10-11 EdTechTeacher San Diego iPad Summitsession.  Share with us how your students are collecting, curating, creating and learning while they are out and about with you.

Building our dreams …

Middle school school girls arrived early this morning to hear from coder, Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 10.14.29 AMentrepreneur, and Task Rabbit CEO Leah Busque.  It was day two of Hour of Code, an international celebration of Computer Science Education Week that is boldly aiming to see 10 million students spend an hour coding.

The room was at capacity as Leah explained how coding has given her the power to bring her thoughts and dreams to life.  “No one understands your ideas better than you” Leah explained as she explored that what has made Task Rabbit so successful has not been an entirely original idea – but instead the skills to realize that idea.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 10.15.34 AM

Hamlin is leaning in this week, celebrating with speakers, alumnae visits, and the goal of having every Hamlin girl and staff member spend an hour coding (more details).

Leah Busque with Head of School Wanda M. Holland Greene, Director of Technology & Innovation Mark Picketts, and members from the Board's Technology Advisory Group

Leah Busque with Head of School Wanda M. Holland Greene, and members from the Hamlin parent community.

Hour of Code


The Hour of Code is a nationwide initiative, introducing computer programming to 10 million students and encouraging them to learn how to code. Hamlin is both proud and excited to use this week, once again, to highlight the incredible coding that is already happening on our campus. We believe that coding continues to be essential for our girls to meet the challenges of their times.

Hour of Code Events: Monday, December 8 – Friday, December 12, 2014

In the Lower School, every class has been scheduled for at least an hour worth of coding instruction with Ms. Windell. Girls will use a variety of coding apps that have been selected to be developmentally appropriate for their age/skill level. These apps include Kodable, Scratch Jr., LightBot, HopScotch, Blockly Maze, as well as resources from the website.

In the Middle School, we are excited to offer the girls the opportunity to come in before school and code together. It is our goal that the girls’ interest in coding will be sparked and they will complete at least an hour of code between home and school during the week. From 7:50-8:25 am, Grades 5 and 6 will code under the guidance of Mr. Lengel on the first floor of Stanwood, while Grades 7 and 8 will code with Ms. Davis in the Great Hall.  Special alumni guests will be popping by during these morning coding sessions and on Thursday, December 11, Middle School parents are encouraged to join the girls to see what they have learned and how exciting coding can be.  The girls will explore a combination of Scratch, Lightbot, RoboLogic, CargoBot, CodeAcademy, and

Girls in Grades 4 through 8 are encouraged to join us in the East Dining Room on Tuesday, December 9 at 7:50 am to hear from the founder of Task Rabbit, Leah Busque, an entrepreneur, innovator, and coder. Leah will talk about coding and its effect on her learning, as well as how coding has shaped her career.  

Administrators and all staff members are being encouraged to join in the fun! Join us and make the commitment to try something new – and to learn to code throughout the week! 

Please click through the Scratch created invite (by Ellie in 5th grade) for a calendar of what is happening when:

created by Ellie, 5th Grade.

Reflecting and Refreshing our Work around SAMR


At our first technology staff meeting of the year we wanted to take a moment to breathe and think of accomplishments that had happened already in the young school year.  The expansion of our 1:1 iPad program, our partnership with Common Sense Media, and the reconstruction of our wireless and storage infrastructure over the summer.  We then looked inward, to the work taking place in our classrooms.

Each teacher used the sentence frame:  I amSAMR_Infinity using ____ to _____.  This initiated a conversation about what they were already doing, the technology that they were using and the goals they were hoping to achieve with it.  This was followed by a table discussion where we tried to place the activity along the SAMR spectrum.

We discovered a nice variety of activities that worked across the spectrum giving the girls a rich array of technology uses.



What does infinity have to do with the SAMR model? It’s all about mindfulness in the classroom.

When the Tech Team first landed on the SAMR model, it resonated with us. We had already launched 1:1 iPad and laptop initiatives, but searched for common language to discuss our ed tech vision. SAMR seemed like a perfect fit!

Except for one thing. We don’t view the integration and use of technology in the classroom as hierarchical. We view iPads, laptops, apps, 3D printers, etc., as tools. Just as you wouldn’t choose a jigsaw to hang a painting, you wouldn’t choose Microsoft Word as a programming app. There is a time and place for each tool and the key is to know how to choose the best tool and why it’s the best tool for the task at hand.

Since it’s creation by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, the SAMR model has been discussed alongside various images, like flow charts, ladders and scales. Another popular SAMR metaphor is attributed to a 2013 blog post by Tim Holt as well Jonathan Brubaker’s subsequent post, comparing each SAMR category to various types of coffee.

SAMR_InfinityAs you move through our presentation you will notice a new image created by the Hamlin Tech Team, where the infinity symbol is used to describe the flow as teachers mindfully select technology and its uses within the classroom. This is also meant to symbolize our decision not to weigh one SAMR category over another, but rather to raise teacher awareness and the capacity to make informed technological choices in the classroom. For example, Word (substitution phase) can make perfect sense for some projects and be the right tool for the task, whereas a blog (modification or redefinition) may be the right choice for other tasks.

Guiding teachers to discover new technology, be mindful of the pedagogical reasons for selecting one tool over another, as well as creating a safe space for openness, risk taking, and creative thinking, are more important to our team than striving for redefinition above all other categories.

We hope you enjoy our take on the SAMR model, originally presented to Hamlin faculty on May 12, 2014.