Live Blogging from the PA MontBucks Unconference 5/22/2014

Hello all!  I a live at the PA MontBucks Unconference.  We are here to discuss educational technology issues in PA.  If you don’t know what an unconference is here is the 411.  I plan to be updating this all day as I learn from my fellow teachers.  Follow us on twitter with #montbucks. We are using OneNote as our conference platform for sharing ( ) and the notebook is Montgomery County Technology Integrator’s Group.

Step one setting up the sessions.  We will be doing 4 sessions today.  People come up to the board and propose sessions.  I proposed two.  I would like Computer Science to become a Math Credit in PA and I would like to talk about blended schools. Fellow DEN Star and PAECT (Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications & Technology) Officer Mark Perlman is here.  Any other DEN stars here should post on twitter to get your shout out in the blog.


It is almost time to choose our sessions.  We are quickly filling up the session board.  Looks like some great things.  Here is a picture of our final board:


My Sessions:

20% Time

PA Computer Science Math Credit


Blended Schools







Welcome and introduction.  Thank you  Lower Moreland High School for hosting!!!


Our hosts were introduced.  This is the first annual unconference for PA.  Our sponsor is PAECT ( The are supporting lots of events in PA for technology so if your not involved and would like to get involved this is your go to location to find information! We discussed the history of Technology in schools Starting with the film strip and Scantron to whiteboards and tablet computes. What does this mean for us?? Professional Development is Necessary!!! So today we are the teacher leaders of our professional Development.  The first follow transforms the lone nut to a leader. Be the first follower!!! Our sessions are about conversations not presentations. Follow the law of two feet.  If you don’t find your learning or contributing use your two feet and go someplace else.


Session 1:  “20% time in the classroom”

Google gives their employees 20% of their work time to create anything they want.  Half of Google’s projects have come from this starts.  Our facilitator,AJ Juliani, @ajjuliani writes about it in this blog post . His school has adopted this idea and has added to the curriculum. It lives in the RLA curriculum focusing on the standards specifically Pennsylvania 11th Grade Reading and Writing Standards. Question: How does this move into a more specific field like Math? AJ answers this question and lays out some guidelines in this blog post.  Check out the following sources:


Session 2:  PA computer science getting a math credit

This session was to gather interested parties to change the law in our state to make Computer Science a Math credit.  Bills ( Computer Science Education Act (HR 2536) Computer Science Education and Jobs Act (S 1407))have been sponsored at the federal level to make this easier to accomplish.  We made some contacts and have the beginnings of a group to make this push.

Check out the following Resources:


Session 3 Videoconferencing:

We discussed options Skype vs Google Hangout.  Server load, permissions, FERPA policy, and Google accounts…oh My..One solution is AppearIn. AppearIn does have some issues with iOS. It requires no accounts and can host up to 8 people.  However we decided that using Google hangout is a better service even though it requires some kind of Google account (does not require Google+)

Session 4 Blended Schools:

We discussed how to used Course management software to create a blended classroom or a Flipped classroom. We discussed the troubles of choosing the right LMS system. We talked about training and the difficulties presented in unblocking sites.  One conclusion we came to is the blocking or unblocking of sites is often the product of classroom management.  Technology requires new classroom management skill sets and often professional development to create the best practices.


We ended the day with a “best thing I learned session”


Thanks to all who participated. It was a great learning experience.

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