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Dece​mber 11, 2015​

World Language Music Videos:

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Check out these music videos produced collaboratively by students attending the BASK in ASK program, a bi-national multidisciplinary program on the environment.  In groups of six, the Andover and Chinese students worked together to create music videos for popular Chinese songs, filmed in different locations that they had visited during the program.  They chose the song, wrote the narrative, and did all the acting and directing themselves. 

December 4, 2015​

New! Are you interested in being a mentor to girls in STEM? Come to the Technovation kickoff event on Thursday, December 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Pearson C.  We will be sharing information about the Technovation challenge, an international team competition that encourages girls to develop mobile apps to solve a problem in their community.  Last year’s participants will share their work, and we will show clips from CodeGirl, a documentary about last year’s challenge, featuring several PA student participants.  Mentors may be needed for this year’s teams — women with any kind of experience in developing business plans, product development, marketing/branding, design, or computer science could serve as mentors.


New! Canvas lunches: Announcing a new series of Canvas Lunches during the week of December 7th! Based on the most frequently asked questions about Canvas during the fall term, David Mallick will be highlighting some quick tips and tricks you can implement in just a few minutes.  Want to add other teachers to your course as observers or allow them to copy your materials? Want to hide or rearrange the items in your left-hand navigation bar? Do you wish your students could contribute their own original thoughts to a discussion before seeing what others have said? Drop in with your lunch to hear about these tips and more:


   Tuesday, December 8th, 6th period, Mural Room

   Friday, December 11th, 4th period, Ada’s Room

   Friday, December 11th, 5th period, Ada’s Room

New! Multimedia project primer:  Are you interested in assigning a media-based project to your students this term, but not sure how to get started? We can help! Erin can help you think through, plan, and scaffold the assignment, and then Mike Ebner can help your class get started in iMovie, a relatively simple editing tool that can accommodate various types of media presentations - slideshows, videos, demonstrations, and more.  Contact Erin directly to get started: x4603 / emccloskey@andover.edu. Also, check out the Examples section of the Educational Initiatives website for some ideas. 


New! Photoshop Wednesdays: Learn the basics of Photoshop with our resident Photoshop guru Paula Driscoll. Photoshop is a fun and flexible tool for retouching or restoring images, creating posters, and more. The first session, Photoshop 101, will be held on Wednesday, January 6, from 1:30-2:00 p.m. in the Polk-Lillard Center lab.  All are welcome and no experience is necessary, but space is limited.  Please email Paula (pdriscoll@andover.edu) to sign up. 


Are your students doing interesting projects with technology? If so, we would love to feature them here on the Educational Initiatives website. The website already includes examples of P.A. students’ projects such as original websites, narrated slide shows, student films, and other uses of technology to communicate in digital form. Please let me know directly if you have something to share for the benefit of the community. Thanks!



November 4, 2015​

This week we feature a new cloud-based tool called RawShorts (http://www.rawshorts.com), which allows for quick creation of tutorials and demo presentations. With drag-and-drop graphics and easy-to-add transitions/audio, Rawshorts offers a simpler version of iMovie for less sophisticated projects. Check out this example – a fun “PSA” for the Language Learning Center (LLC), created by Loreen Sullivan, our new staff member in the LLC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct5ha8g6TZ0.


Video from Erin McCloskey’s Tang Institute talk on October 20, 2015 is available at https://coggle.it/diagram/Vjj_yW_Q0gtu8ILE. Click on the segments in numbered order to watch the full talk, or simply visit the topics of most interest.  The companion resources for the talk remain available at http://tinyurl.com/EIatAndover. 



October 21, 2015​

​On Tuesday, Erin McCloskey spoke at the Tang Institute Lunch and Discussion series, highlighting upcoming initiatives in the DELTA group (Digital Era Learning and Teaching @ Andover), ePortfolios, and multimedia projects. She also reflected on core principles that guide her thinking about learning in a digital era. We will post the video of this talk next week, but until then you can see her presentational aid below. It combines two tools that support processes of thinking and knowledge consolidation.  First, Coggle was used to create a mindmap of ideas (https://coggle.it). Then, Thinglink (https://www.thinglink.com) was used to add interactivity to the mindmap image, such as links to websites, videos, and images that reference and further expand on the ideas shared during the presentation. If you are curious about using these tools in your classes, let Erin know (emccloskey@andover.edu / x4603) – she is happy to brainstorm and support your efforts.


October 9, 2015

New Strategic Plan Group: DELTA

This fall a new strategic plan group was formed in support of the Creativity and Innovation strategic priority. The Digital Era Learning & Teaching at Andover group, DELTA for short, is charged with considering emerging knowledge about learning in an information-, media- and technology-rich world; determining desirable skills, understandings, and habits of minds for students to develop in light of this context, identifying areas of opportunity at Andover to weave in these desired outcomes; and supporting faculty through a variety of mechanisms in doing this work. We are at the very beginning of our process, so stay tuned for forthcoming information about ways to engage with DELTA throughout the year. In the meantime, you can see all the groups and their membership at: http://sp2014.andover.edu/implementation/


Video in World Language Learning

We are excited to share two examples of students using video to practice and demonstrate learning. 

From the Spanish-speaking world, check out the oral history videos (with subtitles!) that students produced as a culminating project in Spanish 511, Community Engagement in the City of Lawrence: We the People.


And for the Francophones out there, check out the Examples page for two creative videos about the Camus novel The Stranger.  In these French 420 final projects, the students chose an element of the novel to explore in depth. One takes an historical angle, and one explores character development in the form of a tabloid news report.

Canvas 1-on-1 appointments ​   

David Mallick is offering 15-minute, 1-on-1 appointments to address your questions about Canvas on Wednesday, October 14, from 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. In order to sign up for one of these sessions, log in to Canvas and click the Calendar link at the top, in the blue navigation bar. Just below and to the right of that you will see a row of buttons for Week, Month, Agenda, and Scheduler. Select the Scheduler button and look for the appointment group labeled Canvas Office Hours. At the top right of this box, you will see a yellow box labeled “You can sign up for this”. Click that link and you will see a series of 15-minute appointments for Wednesday, October 14. Choose an appointment, and if it is still open, click the Reserve link at the bottom left. You’re signed up! 


September 25, 2015

Eight Schools Association keynote

At the last Eight Schools Association meeting, Erin McCloskey and Mike Barker gave a keynote address entitled Imagining the Power of Interoperable Systems.  In this future-oriented, what-if presentation, they consider questions such as: What data collection opportunities are presented by a Learning Management System? What would it mean if systems across the Academy could share data with each other? How might our work change and improve in a world of interoperability? Check out the video below.

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Software discounts

MS Office​

The MS Office download for personally-owned Mac or PC computers is now available for purchase ($9.95 plus tax) to any faculty or staff members that need to use MS Office for Academy-related work at home:

·      Access the download at http://www.microsofthup.com/hupus/home.aspx?culture=en-US

·      Use your andover.edu email address to register for the download.

·      When prompted, enter this code: 156A9F79AF

Adobe Creative Cloud

Phillips Academy faculty and staff may also now purchase Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Acrobat Pro, InDesign, Premiere, and more, for $9.75 per year, plus tax:

·       Go to https://andover.onthehub.com.

·       You will be brought into the site as a “student”. Click the “Faculty/Staff tab to get the discounted rate.


MediaSpace troubleshooting

Overall, students’ experience with MediaSpace has been positive, but glitches can happen. If your students report that video playback on MediaSpace is slow to load or low quality, here are some tips to share with them:

·       Refresh the page

·       View the video in a different browser

·       If possible, watch on a different device, in a different part of your dorm or campus, or during a different time of day

·       If possible, plug into the network (requires an Ethernet/network cable); much more bandwidth is available through the wired network than through the wireless.

·       If plugging in is not possible, bring headphones and watch on the computers in the Polk Center or the PACC lobby.

·       Finally, for persistent problems, complete this form (link) so that we can address the problem.



 September 18, 2015​
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This week, we feature one use of technology to model a learning process and make students’ thinking more visible. Padlet (https://padlet.com/) is a web-based bulletin board tool that can be edited by anyone with the link. In other words, students do not need to create a Padlet account in order to participate. Adrian Khactu used Padlet in English 300 to introduce and practice annotation and close reading. Adrian describes his rationale:

It can be challenging to demonstrate close reading and annotation to students. Traditionally I just talk about the process in class, but showing it is harder. I chose to use Padlet to introduce annotation because the tool actually demonstrates it – it shows the process as it is happening. Also, using Padlet lets the students do their first annotation collaboratively, and they can see each other working and react to each other’s annotations in real time. Being able to demonstrate and model in real time the process from start to finish was a huge benefit of using this tool. And as a result the students now have a fully annotated poem that they can refer to throughout the year, when working individually on essays, or when studying for a test. I definitely plan to teach annotation in this way again, and I’m now thinking about I can incorporate this tool into teaching other forms of close reading.

To see what Padlet annotation looks like, check out this 25-second video that captured the process as it was happening: https://vimeo.com/139495963

You can also see the finished annotations from Adrian’s two sections of English 300 at:



 Check out more examples from around the web of how teachers are using Padlet for brainstorming, sharing final projects with each other, sharing reflections on learning, doing a Venn diagram type of exercise, and sending a collective message to the world. Also check out this very short blog post, which includes ideas for using this tool and a video tutorial on how to set up a Padlet wall.