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EdTech Review: Get Kahoot!

Check out this video for a review and tutorial on how to use Kahoot!

Set up:
I use a macbook at the front connected to a projector so students can all see the questions. Students use their phones, ipods, tablets, and laptops to connect over wifi/data to the game.

To set up an account go to:
Have students go to


Collaborative Learning & Formative Assessment through Mirroring with AirServer & Notability

Today we had an amazing session at the DLL Marketplace.  Check out all the amazing sessions here: 

For Google Doc Version of my Doc Click Here: Collaborative Learning & Formative Assessment


Using the AirPlay feature on the iPad/iPod/iPhone you are able to display the screen of the device onto a computer (mirroring).  If it’s a class set or one single device, you can make lessons more interactive by displaying students work on the projector, pass around the device and have the lesson more interactive.

In my class we use a MacBook, two class iPads and students’ own Apple devices, we are able to collaborate together on one screen through multiple devices.  (You can also use a PC) .   With Notability the work automatically syncs to iCloud and backs up as a PDF to our class website.  Students are able to access a copy of the selected notes from home that we took on Notability on the iPad.  The program AirServer is loaded onto my MacBook which allows me not only to mirror what is on the device screen but also record as well.

Evidence of Learning

Students share the iPads and we take up work, collaborate, play games and learn together.  We are able to work together on problems, collaborate on the same issues and get feedback from the teacher and peers.


Video Tutorial

Variations and Extensions

This can be used with a class set of iPads and a variety of Apple devices.  Other grades could use this in a variety of subjects and all grades with set up assistance from the teacher.

You can use the camera on the device as a document camera to share non-digital works.

Students requiring accommodations, mobility needs and visual impairments excel using this technology as they are able to share their work with the class and see the apps better.

You can also achieve this through an Apple TV if you do not have a desktop or laptop.

Considerations and Suggestions

This requires a Mac or PC that is connected to the same WIFI router OR create an ad-hoc network for devices to connect to from the Mac or connect to a PC.

Resources and Links

What I use:

AirServer –
Notability –

Other mirroring programs

Reflector –

Mirroring360 –

Other drawing programs

Evernote –

Penultimate –

Paper –

Check out some tweets below! Thanks Jason, Diana, and TDSB ICT for the pics!

Health Disparities Conference Summary: Columbia University

What an amazing weekend at Columbia University. You can read all the news articles and academic journals but until you take a walk through Harlem, meet with great minds and have rich discussion, you don’t really see the issues at hand.


Dr. Wallace opened up the conference with expressing a need for a population that is multiculturally sensitive and one that does not perpetuate racial/gender/ethnic/socioeconomic disparities in health. She asked us who we ARE, ARE being Acceptance, Respect and Empathy.


We want to move from just respecting someone to accepting. She said we want to embrace another and the nature of their experience and remaining free of judgment. The last phase, which we need to move ourselves and others into is empathy. Do we understand the inner affective experience of others? When listening to this, all I could see was my mom, from when we were younger and her always telling me to be these 3 things and not just telling me but modeling each and everyday. I don’t think I would be half the educator/social justice minded person without her raising me.

Dr Wallace stressed we don’t want to just tolerate people anymore, that is a term in the past. We need to move from tolerance to acceptance to respect to empathy. She mentioned that the most vulnerable people have been left behind. Those affected by health disparities.


Health brings barriers to learning. The same children most likely to drop out, are the ones that are below reading level, high unemployment and high incarceration rates.   It isn’t an achievement gap, it is an opportunity gap! Some people aren’t even given a chance!

Children’s Health Fund has rolled out pilots in NYC to look at health factors that directly affect learning. They focused on moving from just screenings to actually following up by reducing the barriers by providing access to healthcare.

Dr Fullilove shared about the school to prison pipeline about education and mass incarceration. He shared the following shocking facts

  • US is 5% of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds prisoners
  • 7 neighbourhoods in NYC supply majority of inmates in NY state.
  • 2-3 times higher HIV rates in prison than out of prison
  • 60% of prisoners are racialized
  • 1/9 black children have at least one parent locked up
  • In the lifetime the likelihood of imprisonment is as follows
    • 1/9 of all men
    • 1/3 are black
    • 1/17 are white
    • 1/6 Latin

The problems have stemmed from the war on drugs. They cops go after low level drug dealers and after the poor community. By looking at the 4th grade reading level you can predict the chance of them going to prison. Blacks and Hispanics are pushed out of school through suspension, expulsion much higher than whites. 15% of the school population is black but 40% of suspensions.

We don’t have any people to waste. Prison has no return on investment. With 32-40 thousand dollars spent per year on prisoners as compared to 2-3 thousand dollars to supply inmates with a degree. Dr Fullilove shared the Bard Prison Initiative. BPI program with this program they have issued 275 degrees in 5 NY prisons. This is a great idea as current jails and prisons are a for profit business that is not in the industry to rehabilitate. Like Dr Fullilove mentioned, we can’t waste anyone, by giving them education they can lift themselves up and help others.


Dr Chris Emdin’s keynote was phenomenal. The energy and passion that this man has is to the moon and back! I am still feeling the energy from his talk! He talked about PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and how the military has made this diagnosis for soldiers returning back from places of discomfort. But lets flip it around and look at the conditions people are living in on a daily basis. We need to treat students like they are loved, and that we need create a place of comfort. The trauma many youth live in becomes normalized. Emdin was referring to the kids not being able to breathe in the classroom and the fact that sometimes they just can’t. It can be institutions that create the stress. Students have their own cultures and are all forced to come into the same space everyday. If it was PTSD, we would remove them from the stressful situation, but since it is school we legally can’t. Emdin suggested creating 3rd spaces in schools that are a safe space, which includes teaching and learning.

Dr Emdin’s second main point was the power of mass distraction. So many people are living through the media and not actually living and healing their own lives. People are then becoming comfortable in their real life discomfort by living their lives through media. The Cosby show is an example of media where people often lived out their fantasy by watching instead of healing in their own lives. He talked about standardized tests as a similar distractor, being focused on the score rather than the conditions causing the scores. He suggested to talk about bars on the windows, curriculum and conditions that are causing the gap in scores. He also said “Learning is deeply personal, then it can’t be standardized! Then nature of teaching and learning shouldn’t be standardized.”

Lastly, he mentioned science as being a powerful force. This is something I feel the most strongly about. Science allows you to have power. He said don’t let doctors and medical professionals talk about you, have them talk to you. With science knowledge you become part of the conversation. We need to engage young people in science early and in a meaningful way. We don’t want to pass on oppression that has become ritualized through the process of over practice. Emdin said we need to be transformative and engage more people in science.


Emdin reminded us what is HIP HOP








The next session was by Ian Levy, an awesome educator and scholar doing the work in NYC schools. He presented on “Hip Hop Therapy: Using Hip Hop lyricism and performing as a therapeutic medium with urban youth”. He brought his students with him for a live performance. He opened with a live performance of his own in the spirit of Hip Hop! He discussed issues in schools where students are told they can’t act how they really are in schools. Also if they don’t act a certain way and follow certain rules they won’t be successful. Levy mentioned the disconnect between what happens inside the school walls vs outside. He said by stripping young people of their culture, it creates tensions and then lead to health disparities.

He is using the cypher as group counseling mechanism. The work the students presented was insane! They examined recent media and expressed feelings as young youth of colour. The students examined news articles of the recent shooting victims and rapped about them.


Our presentation is below and will consist of a separate blog entry but in the meantime here is our presentation.

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Want to meet Dr Chris Emdin?  He will be in Toronto for the Hip Hop Education STEMposium 

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#EdAppHack Sharing our work for our youth hackathon!

Well its been a busy few months after #EdAppHack and school has been going well.  Since #EdAppHack in October a bunch of amazing organizations have released information about the day.  Our Hackathon playbook has hit Mozilla that we created with MaRS and just last week we were published in the Ontario College of Teacher’s magazine Professionally Speaking.  I just wanted to share some of those things with the world!

Complete list in doc click here

Ontario College of Teacher’s: Professionally Speaking


Orion: Watch Students Innovate at EdAppHack

MaRS: Youth Hackathon Playbook Hits The Web For Free 


Mozilla/MaRS: Youth Hackathon Playbook


Orion: Hacking for Good: #EdAppHack Brings Together Students, Teachers and Programmers – Everyone Learns 


Brandon Zoras: Storify: EdAppHack 


TDSB STEM Showcase: Using VROC and Video Calls for #STEM Learning

Friday was a great day of STEM learning! It goes to show how many awesome, dedicated and willing to share teachers there are in the TDSB. With the hard work of the STEM central team the day was a success! To get a better understanding of STEM we need to define it and how it will work for our board. We can not just use the definition used in the United States but one that works for us. The team centrally has come up with a definition which I really like:

“STEM is a trans-disciplinary approach to inquiry and problem-based learning that fosters collaboration, creativity, and innovation in all students.” – TDSB STEM launch 2014


Antonio, Anne, Stacey and Brandon speaking about VROC

Antonio, Anne, Stacey and Brandon speaking about VROC (from left to right)

I wanted to look at ways to get students thinking of STEM careers. I have been using VROC for the last few years. VROC has been growing and have a huge variety of researchers from STEM careers. You can find traditional scientists in all the fields but also math, architecture, engineering, and technology fields. It is great way for students to hear first hand about careers in STEM, what research is new and how those scientists work together across disciplines.

My folder with resources is here: FOLDER

My one page information sheet is here: One Pager

Prezi for the day: PREZI 

Resources from the presenters can be found here:
Click on the presenters name to gain access to a Google doc with their Google drive folder.

Sign up now for VROC:


EdAppHack: Educational Hackathon at MaRS Discovery District #EdAppHack

Its been two weeks since EdAppHack and been meaning to write a blog about the day but its been very busy at school. So a 5 am wake up and were we go!

Check out

The event couldn’t have gone off any better (ok maybe there could have been a few improvements)! It was all the dedicated people that made this completely free youth driven, educational hackathon a success! So thank you to all the planning members, sponsors, teachers, mentors, Humber students and most importantly the high school students for making this event awesome.

There were way too many photos to choose from, instead of making this post massive here are the links to our social media summaries!

Checkout the Storify here:

Checkout the Tumblr here: 

Joseph Romano and I welcomed everyone in and thanked the group. The main message we wanted to let them know is we are flipping the model of app development. The students are the bosses and will be working with mentors and developers to have their ideas heard. They were to identify gaps and put forth a solution that would help other youth.

We got to hear from Carla Kisko, associate director of TDSB welcoming the students to the day. Our major sponsor Humber College, was a huge part of the day. They acted as mentors and developers which were critical to the success of the apps made. Heather Lowry the associate dean of School of Media Studies & information Technology, gave a great opening of which programs can take if interested in programming and app development.

To open the day we had an amazing keynote speaker Robleh Jama from Tiny Hearts, a Toronto app company, give his background and motivation for the day. His presentation can be found here:

Joe Wilson, Senior Strategist, Educational Technology at MaRS Discovery District inspired the room and got the students thinking of the many roles that go into a successful app. He explained each group needs a hacker, a hustler and a designer. That proved to be very true from our winning team as they were able to strike a perfect balance of the three. He got them up and creating all-star teams.

After an amazing lunch provided by the youth food program at Central Technical School, we broke off into scrums. Scrums accepted 1-2 students from each team over to a side section where they were able to learn about a concept and brining it back to the group.

Scrum 1: Storyboarding/Designing an App by Sticker UI Book – Killer Inc

I reached out to this Kickstarter that was going through the funding process just as our hackathon was going on. I saw they had a great UI (user interface) idea for apps and asked if they could make a custom sheet for our hackathon. They gratefully provided us with an awesome UI design sheet for a variety of devices and storyboarding. Students came up with some awesome interfaces and turned to the Humber students and mentors to help them.

Scrum 2: Prototyping with AppSeed

Ariel, a Humber College Student led the scrum. He did an amazing job showcasing this awesome app he worked on with Greg Goralski. Students were able to draw on a prototype paper and use AppSeed to scan in the pages and make a working prototype in minutes. Click here for their Kickstarter!

Scrum 3: Mozilla App Maker – Hatch Canada 

Hatch Canada ran the Mozilla Appmaker scrum. Appmaker is an amazing tool that allows you to make a functioning web app in minutes, while teaching the basics of coding at the same time.

The rest of the day was left to the youth hacking along! They developed awesome logos, twitter accounts, surveyed potential customers and got to work on promotional videos and their pitch.

Day 2 started off with the same energy that was buzzing in the room the day before. The 3 pm pitch deadline was looming and the groups were eager to get back to work. Gen Ling Chang the associate director of TDSB gave a great welcome back to get the students started. She spoke about embracing this as a model for learning and the importance of being innovative.

Marc Saltzman had a great video message for the group, sharing what makes a good app.  He was very enthusiastic and the students really loved the inspiration. Getting to hear from Robleh the day before and Marc now, they really got some good advice to tweak their app.

Marc’s Video

Scrum 4: How to Pitch – Joe Wilson of MaRS.

Joe gave a whole group talk on how to pitch to the judges. He talked about the importance of a short elevator pitch that gets the most important details across so that it would leave a lasting impression.

Scrum 5: Teachers Only – How to use this process in your class. Ryan Burwell from MaRS / Twenty One Toys.

Ryan got a big discussion of what was happening over the weekend and what that would like in schools. Unfortunately I didn’t get to attend this scrum as I was prepping for the pitches but would love a teacher to comment on the session!

Right before the pitches one of the judges, Darin Graham, CEO of Orion, gave an incredible talk to the students. He was extremely real, motivating and got the students thinking of the future. Orion also was a major sponsor and had a film crew to document the innovation that is happening on their network. Look out soon for that!

The judges took their seats and the pitch order was randomized. Judges for this weekend were

Peter Singh, Chief Technology Officer, Toronto District School Board

Heather Lowry, Associate Dean, School of Media Studies & Information Technology,

Humber College

Darin Graham, President & CEO, ORION

All three judges brought a wealth of experience and we thank them so much.

Pitches: Why tell you when you can see them all here:

The Winners!

1) Switch On – Kipling C.I. and Vaughn Road Academy

2) One Mark – Woburn Collegiate

3) Time4Life – Birchmount Collegiate

4) Time Line – Hardbord Collegiate

All teams made amazing apps. The other teams did amazing and had such great apps as well. The top 4 listed above were able to come up with a great app and win the hearts of the judges with a clear and quick pitch.

Thank you, co- facilitators Joe Romano and Joe Wilson. We couldn’t have done it without Peter Singh, Gen Ling Chang, Carla Kisko, Heather Lowry and Humber College, Cathy Bogaart and Darin Graham of Orion, Ontario College of Teachers, Sesame,, Nuvango and Leader PM / Quality Plating . Thank you to all the mentors and Humber students as well as the volunteers from Monarch Park documenting the day!

For the handouts for the event see:

Our interview on MindShare Learning with Robert Martellacci

Social Media can be found here:



Joseph Romano, Brandon Zoras and Joe Wilson

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NextLesson – Engaging. Relevant. Real World


NextLesson is a great site that is focused on performance tasks, problem based learning, critical thinking and rank and reason activities.  The lessons are hands on, engaging and prepare students for 21st century problems. Check out NextLesson at

Fig 1: Browse by 21st Century Skill

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The site is simple to search by grade, subject and common core standard.  Being from Toronto, Canada, I found many of the lessons fit in nicely to the Ministry of Ontario’s Curriculum as well.  There is a lot of free content and premium content at affordable prices that can be downloaded, modified and shared online.  The lesson tool bar allows for many options for your lessons from ranking and discussion to printing and adding your own content.  You can even duplicate a lesson and add challenges for those students in one class or change the overall lesson for another class.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 10.23.53 PMFig 2: Lesson Tool Bar: 

The lessons are loaded with docs, PDFs, downloads, embedded videos, and links to online content.  What I really like is the ability to copy the lesson and edit and add as much or as little to it as I want.  The problem I often encounter when using other people’s lessons is that I can’t just use them as is.  I need to change things to suit my classroom and students’ needs. With NextLesson you can have that customization and add your personal flare to the lesson.  You can then make notes and share this lesson with students so they have all the notes. The lessons also implement technology such as Minecraft, QR codes, coding,  simulations and many other technologies.

Fig 3: Ease of Sharing With Class Codes

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Fig 4: QR Codes with Cell Structures

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After exploring and testing the lessons in my class, the students were engaged and saw the practical applications.  Students had to use a variety of skills that they don’t normally think belong in science.  In high school especially, we often compartmentalized subjects and students often take off their math hat and pop on their science hat once they enter to the next class.

Fig 5: Building a Lunar Lander Lesson

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One lesson I liked that fit into the Space unit for grade 9 science in the Ontario Curriculum was the Build a Lunar Lander.  The lesson comes packed with instructions, handouts, and video clips of the moon landing.  I like the ease at which all the materials is found in one place.  To do this lesson without NextLesson, would take a lot of prep work by finding and organizing the content.  I was able to quickly access what was in the database and then add my own things found on the internet.  The students liked exploring the additional content that I added as well.  I was able to add the Google Maps Moon site to the lesson for my students to explore.

Check out NextLesson at

#EdAppHack Educational Hackathon at MaRS

Supported by the MaRS Discovery District, #EdAppHack is a 2-day Education-focused Hackathon that aims to unite Students, Teachers and Community App Developers through the theme of STEM. As an experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunity based on the Hackathon Model, the goal of the weekend event is to empower Student Voice in the creation of original Apps that support learning needs identified by Student participants. Teachers and App Developers will support each other and collaborate in teams with Students as they imagine, prototype, build and pitch their App ideas!

Saturday, October 25, 2014 &
Sunday, October 26, 2014

9:00AM – 5:00PM

MaRS Discovery District

101 College Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L7

check it out here!

Top BYOD App Recommendations by Teachers for Teachers #BYOD

Thank you for all the great teachers who submitted their top BYOD apps!  Here is the link to the list!  Please share!

Google Doc:

If you missed the survey and have an app to add please add it here:

Thanks @HTheijsmeijer @msjackson2015 @patgrew @RomanoJ @Jason_To @mrstamegna for contributing!


Hip Hop Education comes to OISE #HipHopEd #Digitalstorytelling

Today I had the pleasure to present and run a breakout session at OISE as part of the Rhymes to Re-Education session.

Conference: OISE Educating for Peace and Justice: Action for Safe & Equitable Classrooms, Schools & Communities

With an amazing group of individuals we went through a lesson involving graffiti, spoken work / rap and digital storytelling.  In a super short 25 minutes the groups were able to make awesome videos that included graffiti brainstorm on peace and justice with selecting music that goes to their theme.  Although we didn’t have time to add our rap / spoken word to the piece they turned out great.  To use this example in your class download the handout below (or here Rhymes to Reeducation handout)

Gr0up 1:

video by: Ina, Sam and Daniella
Music – instrumental Juicy – Notorious BIG


Gr0up 2:

video by: TBA (group email me your names!)
Music – It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube

See Handout for the lesson below:

Rhymes to Reeducation handout

Below is my sample that I shared with the group.  I find if you want students to do a task you need to model it and step outside of your comfort zone.  My piece below is a spoken word and photos of my subway ride to school.  If we think of the journey our students make to school what are they thinking?  As a teacher I often get caught up in the content of school, so I may have 30 students enter and I am thinking all 30 are ready to learn science that morning.  But are they ready? are they focused on their next meal? A fight at home? an issue in the community? My piece reflects the thoughts I had going to school Friday and the recent murders of Abshir Hassan, a teacher trying to make the community better and Hamid Aminzada, killed at school trying to better himself with an education.  Heartbreaking and senseless.


For more resources follow: