Hour of Code Recap – Middle School Edition

By beck@hamlin.org


MS girls coding before school

An interview with Middle School Technology Integration Specialist, Jim Lengel and Rachel Davis, Middle School Science Teacher and Integration Specialist:

Q: What were your goals going into Hour of Code?
A: (Rachel) – I wanted the girls to get more comfortable with coding and feel like it’s something they can tackle or try in the future.
(Jim) – I wanted to show the girls that coding can be fun! Like Rachel, I think if the students have a chance to experience coding they find find out that they love it.

Q: How did you think you were successful in meeting these goals?
A: (Rachel) – I’m so glad that most of the Middle School students attempted coding. Some students even told Jim and I that after their Hour of Code activities at school, they went home and coded that night!

(Jim) – It was amazing to look over and find a sea of girls in 5th and 6th Grades coding. We really had an enormous amount of Hamlin girls coding.

light bot; one of many coding apps used

Q: If you could do it again, how would you change the Hour of Code week at Hamlin?
A: (Rachel) – I think an hour dedicated for each grade to code during the week would be great so that even those who felt like they were not good at coding would at least give it a try.
(Jim) – I’d like to develop an integrated project that would then be taught via scheduled classes during the week. I’d also like to have more time to teach girls coding in general.


Leah Busque from Task Rabbit encourages the girls to build their dreams

Q: How did you celebrate the Hour of Code in your life?
A: (Rachel) – I really enjoyed watching the girls code and was impressed with their critical thinking skills. I Wish I had had the same opportunity when I was in Middle School. I was really inspired hearing Leah Busque from Task Rabbit speak on Tuesday, I thought she was incredibly inspiring.
(Jim) – I took a coding course “code school“, it will allow the technology team explore any only courses until the spring. I’m excited to integrate the lessons I am learning into my classes at Hamlin.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 10.27.59 AM

T-shirts to award successful completion of an hour of code!

Q: Can you share two highlights that particularly stick out in your mind?
A: (Rachel) – Wow, there are so many – picking two is a challenge. Watching Ms. Helm code with the girls was a real highlight for me. Seeing the excitement in a student who was able to light up a tree in Alaska, and how proud the 7?s and 8?s were when they received their hour of coding certificates.
(Jim) – One morning I walked around the corner to virtually the entire 6th grade class coding together. They were excited and really into it – I felt like I had reached the masses! When we gave the girls their T-shirts as a reward for completing the hour of code it was a fantastic wrap up to the project.

The post Hour of Code Recap – Middle School Edition appeared first on Education Technology Blog |.

Source:: Liz Beck – Hamlin Ed Tech Blog

Art Making and the iPad – NorCATA Event Dec 7, 2014

It’s true! I’ve been asked back for a follow-up to the NorCATA presentation and iPad demo at the Union Square Apple store back in Jan 2012.

It’s also true that I haven’t been practicing art therapy for several years. So, my goal is not review the state of art therapy and technology, but rather to draw upon my experience teaching teachers how to integrate technology into the classroom. I’ll review how to research art making apps, how to assess their usefulness in a therapeutic context, learn some basic skills in Keynote, Book Creator, and Paper 53, and help attendees envision how to use art making apps within their therapeutic practices.

Hope to see you there!

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

By beck@hamlin.org

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.


As 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.

The post What does infinity have to do with the SAMR model? It’s all about mindfulness in the classroom. appeared first on Education Technology Blog |.

Source:: Liz Beck – Hamlin Ed Tech Blog

Back in Action!

large_text101387_56971It’s hard to even know where to begin when it’s been so long. A quick summary of events to catch you all up:

  • I left my job as an art therapist at Redwood Place and transitioned my career to web design (Liz Beck Designs) about four years ago
  • A little over three years ago, I gave birth to twin boys
  • Working for myself was great in that I could work from home and spend time with my boys during their first year of life (with help from a mother’s helper). But, hustling for clients and establishing a business is really hard to do when you’re a new mom. I began a job hunt and landed a webmaster job at The Hamlin School in San Francisco
  • Two redesigns later (of their website and then their Learning Management System), my daily work moved from a more communications and fundraising focus to educational technology

The past four years been extremely dynamic, and for the past two I’ve been neglecting to write. I still have lots to say, much of which has been brewing for quite some time.

I’m now writing again, but this time as a part of The Hamlin School’s Technology Department (yes…I am again subject to awful school photos of myself. reminiscent of my self-conscious teen years), and I am automatically migrating my posts from our Ed Tech Blog over to lizbeck.net. I will also sprinkle in a few posts related to art therapy and other things of interest here as well.

Thanks for keeping in touch even though I’ve been silent for so long. I’m glad to be back in action!

What is the deal with Tetris?

“The writer Jeffrey Goldsmith was so obsessed with Tetris that he wrote a famous article asking if the game’s creator Alexey Pajitnov had invented “a pharmatronic?” – a video game with the potency of an addictive drug. Some people say that after playing the game for hours they see falling blocks in their dreams or buildings move together in the street – a phenomenon known as the Tetris Effect. Such is its mental pull, there’s even been the suggestion that the game might be able to prevent flashbacks in people with PTSD.”

This Fabulous Montreal Based Program Needs Your Support – Vote!

The Alzheimer Society of Montreal needs your help! Their activity centers are threatening to close as a result of difficult financial times. This respite program, which includes art therapy, is reaching out and asking people to vote for their activity center project that will give them funding to keep them open. More importantly, the people with Alzheimer’s and their families desperately need your help and this is the place where miracles happen.

A vote a day can save them from closing their doors, I ask that you check out the link below, register (really easy…15 seconds) and vote daily or as often as you can. Unfortunately it is much like a “popularity contest” but well worth it if they win. You can share the link on Facebook too as I have done, creating even greater awareness and support…remember a vote a day until the end of November, please try to do it as often as you can this is an opportunity where the simple click of a button can make a huge difference!

Vote Now!

(this text is an excerpt from an email by Dayna M)

Infographic: The Cost of Education

This is an advertisement for an online college…but I thought it was interesting. Again, the least likely people to find a job are those who studied Clinical Psychology.

I’d like to discuss a few points brought up in this info graphic. Firstly, I suspect that there are more bartenders and waitresses than engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians because we’re not graduating enough people in those fields – not because there’s a lack of jobs for technically skilled people.

And then the last line – “It’s a tough world out there.You might as well stay at home” – Yeah…it’s a tough world alright. So, choose your career path wisely, gain marketable skills either through school (and not necessarily an online school…) or work and stay out of debt. You’ll be way ahead of most and I even bet you’d be able move out of your parents home.

For the Love of the Maslins

I want to apologize for not writing in over a month. I’ve been overseeing a massive website redesign project at work. Between that and the twins, I’ve hardly drifted to the surface of life outside my insular bubble.

But, life has a funny way of reminding you to stay in the moment and be grateful for all that you have.

An old gradschool classmate, Abby Sullivan Maslin, a Dance Movement Therapist who is now working as a teacher in Washington D.C. experienced the unthinkable. About 2 weeks ago her husband was brutally attacked while walking home after a boys night out in his D.C neighborhood in Capital Hill. He wasn’t found for 8 hours and sustained major brain and bodily injouries that were exasterbated by the time that passed between the beating and the arrival of an emergency response team. Abby is struggling to cope, as she also tries to care for her young son Jack, who is just shy of 2 years old.

With no witnesses, Abby reached out to the media in a attempt to find somehow who may have knowledge of what happened that night.

As she processes all that has happened, Abby has been posting updates on her Facebook page, but recently just started a blog, which I want to share with you: For the Love of the Maslins. Your support and prayers are needed. Friends started a fundraising website so that money will hopefully not be a concern as this family struggles to survive.

Your help is much appreciated.