Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Building a Mindset for STEAM

Let's fast forward to an education in the year 2025. Most of what we currently consider modern day education will be even more infused with virtual learning experiences for students and a higher dependency on a student’s ability to translate their understandings through digital formats and blended learning both online and in person. The experiences which will separate students from each other will be their willingness to build, create and design their futures based on their hands-on experiences. Opportunities and capabilities for students to show what you know and understand has been quickly enhanced by the use of technology. STEAM learning is the common term which encapsulates the subject areas related to Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts and Math.

I am passionate about STEAM education because it supports student’s natural innate desire to connect their understandings across disciplines and also encourages educators to collaborate outside their safe zone. Whenever you can bring educators together around a common theme or topic, amazing things can happen. STEAM learning drives student engagement and watching students experience authentic learning in areas like robotics, programming, scientific inquiry and analysis of data is an encouraging direction of how education is shifting to provide more tangible real-world skills in these areas.

In my own opinion educators are the most inspired when they recognize that learning is not measured just solely by a test but it when all students have enabled the opportunity to demonstrate a unique part of their own learning and experience. Empowering students to synthesize subject areas, connect concepts and explore the freedom to express themselves keeps the excitement for learning alive.

Technology’s role has completely shifted how all of our core subject area learning happens. It reflects not only what's happening in the real world in science labs, engineering, and design processes, but also in the skills of communicating, collaborating and thinking critically. Technology enhances our ability to communicate across the world and to bring together unique skill-set that can create new products and experiences. These Innovations are part of the new economy and STEAM represents the opportunity for cross-curriculum collaboration and communication around the topics driving education today.

As the world continually gets smaller and the demand to provide students the core skills, opportunities, and understandings that will give them an essential groundwork for the future job market it is extremely important that a school culture and curriculum support the changes evident in the real world.

STEAM Night Brochure & Information-North Reading Public Schools 2018

Chromebook Repair Links & Reosurces

Fix hardware and system problems

Fix Chromebook problems

Friday, November 9, 2018

North Reading Public Schools Seesaw Portfolio Use 2018

Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio. Teachers can empower students to create, reflect, share, and collaborate. Students “show what they know” using photos, videos, drawings, text, PDFs, and links. It’s simple to get student work in one place and share with families, and nothing is shared without teacher approval.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

November Tech Buzz Session List 2018

The Digital Learning Team is happy to announce our current session list for Tech Buzz Professional Development. Please visit and subscribe to this blog for updates.

Any combination of 12 hours of participation in the "TechBuzz" Training contributes to an in-service credit through "North Reading University" for advancement on the salary scale. If you plan on participating "For-Credit" please be sure to sign-up for the "Tech Buzz Credit" in My Learning Plan. 

Our goal is to support you with a range of entry points with the use of technology to enhance instruction. This year we will also be introducing the Schoology Learning Platform to deliver our resources and session materials and feedback. The Digital Learning Specialists will support you with providing you access. Please connect with your building Digital Learning Specialist about these options available in your school!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Kathy Dasho, North Reading District Digital Learning Specialist K-12

Kathy Dasho
  North Reading District Digital Learning Specialist K-12

Masscue 2018 Change Team
The 2018 Change Team presented their project "Green Programming: Developing A Vision For Sustainable Agriculture With Computing Systems" at the Masscue 2018 Technology Conference. Using Raspberry Pi technology, programming skills and a range of sensors to measure horticulturally significant factors, students talked about the value and benefits of gardening while learning about sustainability issues, programming, single board computing systems and global ecology. North Reading High School students demonstrated Raspberry Pi sensors, python commands and handed out an infographic containing Raspberry Pi common commands along with information on 

Michael Tyrrell explaining Python Programming to an attendee at the Masscue Conference.

We were using a microcomputer platform, (Raspberry Pi) practicing IT skills and sensors to support measuring the conditions of indoor gardening:

- Raspberry Pi Microcomputer
- DHT11 heat/humidity sensor
- Soil Moisture sensor
- Photoresistor
- Raspberry Pi Programming Commands


Kathy Dasho presented CoderZ: An Update 2018 along with Graham Celine of Intellitek. Kathy talked about using the new version "Crash Course" with her high school class and their results and collaborations, while Graham highlighted new updates and plans for the product.


Robotics Academy and Web Design

October 24, 2018 was North Reading's first STEAM night, and Kathy presented both of her high school classes, Robotics Academy and Web Design. Tables were on display showing student projects, and students demonstrated and explained their robotic programming, challenges and coding for websites.

Kathy Dasho
District Digital Learning Specialist K-12
North Reading Public Schools

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A Message From Our New Middle/High School Digital Learning Specialist: James Sgroi

James Sgroi
Digital Learning Specialist- North Reading Middle & High Schools


I hope everyone has had an enjoyable and productive start to this new school year. Now that some of the beginning of the year “dust” has settled, and we have grown acclimatized to our classes, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is James Sgroi and I am the new Digital Learning Specialist for the Middle and High School. Prior to joining the North Reading team, I taught Computer Education at Timberlane Regional Middle school and during that time I completed my M.Ed in Technology Integration from Southern New Hampshire University. My goal here at North Reading is to assist and encourage you, the educational community, with all of your technology integration needs.

As educators, we all have varying and well-informed views towards integrating technology into our classrooms. To me, technology integration is much more than just infusing technology into the curriculum. Technology integration is about motivation, building relationships, collaboration, professional development, evaluation, budgeting and creating methods and practices that align with our standards. I share in the belief that before technology integration can take place, we need to get to know our students, understand where their interests lie, and learn how to best support their needs. This support can change from lesson to lesson, grade to grade, and class to class.

I also believe that this same approach applies to training teachers as well. We all come from various backgrounds, have numerous needs and different goals we all want to achieve. Determining and listening to educator needs lays the groundwork for positive collaboration and communication. More importantly, it allows the integrator, teachers and administrators to set their integration goals and enables these groups to create a framework that empowers them to not only achieve their objectives, but to continuously improve upon them.

I believe it is also important to continue to perfect the technology integration craft and develop authentic professional development to support this because, quite simply, the evolution of education both today and in the future is technology driven. Today’s society depends on 21st century learning skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, innovation and the ability to analyze to succeed in its global environment. Technology has become the vehicle behind this movement and will continue to be the standard in which advancement is measured. We as educators, must continually adapt to meet the technological needs of our community in order to grow and prosper. We must also continuously update the tools in our toolbox, maintain an eye that focuses on trends and current research, and, most importantly, continue to develop collaborative relationships within the school community. All of these processes will not only keep our school community, teaching practices and goals valid and up-to-date, but it also allows us to adapt to changes more fluidly and effortlessly. This approach will strengthen us to take positive risks in our classrooms and encourage us to continually confront our comfort zones.

When it comes to integrating technology, we are all in this together. Thank you for welcoming me into this special community. I am looking forward to working with you all.

James Sgroi

James Sgroi
Digital Learning Specialist
 North Reading Middle & High Schools

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October 2018 DL Blog Digital Learning at the Hood Elementary-Sam Anthony, Digital Learning Specialist

Sam Anthony
Digital Learning Specialist- Hood Elementary School-North Reading Public Schools

The months of September and October were filled with excitement and learning at the J.Turner Hood Elementary School’s media center. Students in all grade levels were involved in learning about being a super digital citizen.

  • Kindergarten students learned about taking care of devices along with mouse and keyboarding skills.
  • First graders learned about using the Internet safely and were made aware of the dangers of the online world. They also completed an iPad use test.
  • Second graders learned about being safe while online by not sharing their private information such as their full names, address, phone numbers or passwords.
  • Students in grade 3 learned about their digital footprint and how to manage it positively.
  • 4th graders learned how to be safe, responsible and respectful when on the world wide web.
  • 5th graders discussed ways they can use social media safely, responsibly and respectfully.
Here are samples of our students’ work in grade 5:

MassCUE & NR STEAM Night

I have been working hard to keep up with the newest tech trends in education. I attended the Massachusetts Computer Using Educators (MassCUE) Fall Conference at Gillette Stadium.
I had fun presenting with Vinnie Rod from FIRST about the implementation of FIRST LEGO League Jr.  in grade 4 across our district. This program is designed to introduce STEM concepts to kids ages 6 to 10 through the use of Legos.
Not only did I  get a chance to present, explore different cool vendor tables and attend a few workshops but I also got to watch the Patriots during one of their practices which made the trip down to Foxborough well worth it.

In addition, I attended the North Reading Public Schools’ first STEAM night on October 24th. I enjoyed meeting students and parents from our entire district and got to see some of my former students engaged and inspired by our STEAM program across the district. Our elementary digital learning team (pictured right) showcased beebots, ozobots, augmented reality, 3d printing, Scratch projects, and the rocketship from our Lego League Jr. program.

Mrs.Anthony, Ms.Lindsay, Mrs.Kelley

Sam Anthony
Digital Learning Specialist
Hood Elementary School


Sunday, September 23, 2018

Digital Learning Updates September 23rd, 2018

Using AirParrot In Your Classroom
If you are looking to easily and wireless connect your laptop to your projector look no further than
AirParrot. Using this software you can wireless display your laptop screen to your room projector
with the click of a button. If you are interested in learning how to use this software and feature
reach out to one of our Digital Learning Specialists.

Submit A Tech Ticket Here
Please continue to submit tech tickets at so we can continue to help
assist you in a timely manner.

Locations Of MS/HS Digital Learning Specialists during the day:
High School:
Middle School:

Upcoming STEM Night On October 24th
If interested in being a part of the upcoming STEM night please email Dan Downs
( or Patrick Daly( for more information.

NRPS Tech Buzz Schoology Group
Join The Tech Buzz PD Online Group
Step 1: Sign Up In Schoology As An Instructor in The North Reading Public Schools
Step 2: Join The “North Reading Tech Buzz PD” Group with Access Code: W5Q6V-8XQ73
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Complete A Software/Application/Website Request
When you come across web based resources (apps, extensions, add-ons, software, etc.)
that you would like to implement in your classes, please make sure you
fill out the ​North Reading Digital Learning Software & Web Based Resource Request Form
and reach out to one of the Digital Learning Specialists to review your request.

Tips For Plus Portals:
Video guides for Plus Portals:

Need An Overview On Chromebooks?
Check out the link below and connect with one of our digital learning specialists.

Special Education Digital Learning Tool Suggestion:
JoinMe in the classroom - App that allows a student to view their teacher’s Eno board
on a Chromebook or iPad. Come and learn how to utilize this app which makes your Eno
board easily viewable especially for visually-impaired students.