Tabaldo on Tech

Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century

Tabaldo on Tech - Teaching with Technology in the 21st Century

Google+ Communities & Engrade


ToT-G+                    ToT-engrade

SITE 2013 Conference Gems

Today is Day 2 of the SITE (Society of Information Technology & Teacher Education) 2013 Conference in New Orleans, LA. I have heard some great gems, two of them I want to post today, more will follow!

Google+ Communities

If your school is using Google Apps for Education, and you (like me) have been using Google Groups as a discussion forum, I would encourage you to create a Community on Google+ and invite your students to it. You can create topics just like in Groups, but the students can interact with it more like a social media environment. They can post, comment, upload video, take video right on the spot, have a Hangout with other students online, embed YouTube and watch from within the post. The community is secure and private, only those you invite are in there. It is a great way to engage with your students in a more dynamic environment.

Still concerned about school security? The US Naval Academy just announced they are using Google Apps for Government. I think if Google Apps is secure enough for the US Navel Academy then you can feel safe.



Looking for a FREE gradebook option? Here is Engrade. Engrade is easy to use and the bonus is that if you are using Google Apps for Education, and have a Google Site, you can embed the Engrade widget into the site to allow the students to see their grades. Engrade uses the student login to authenticate the user and only displays the information of the user logged in.  Schools and teachers are praising Engrade, and I think you will too.

Thanks to Dr. Robert Allen Moody (Doc) of Fort Hays State University for sharing your great work with us!

As always, please post your comments below and join in the conversation.
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Technology in Common Core

There is no escaping Technology when it comes to Common Core

When it comes to Common Core, it is a fact that our students will need to be fluent when it comes to technology. Students will need to be able to navigate the web, discern important and relevant information, research, prepare and present all using the technology in the classrooms. Common Core assessments will also be taken online, so students need to know how to use the web tools available to them during testing.

So here are a few of my concern as we begin the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation.   Continue reading

Technology – A Time & A Place?

Pope Then and Now

Photo courtesy of NBCNews

The Announcement of the New Pope 2005 & 2013

This past week many of us watched live via the News Channels or a streaming website the announcement of the new Pope. My hope is that Catholic Schools around the nation tuned in to watch.

The photo above was posted on Facebook with this caption:

Wow – Pictures ARE worth 1,000s of word … My how time & technology change things … (not always for the better)
This happened yesterday and seeing all of the phones (and ipad ;)) leads the question: Are we too often trying to capture the moment instead of living in the moment, or, can you do both? Tell us what you think… (photo via NBC news).

Are we too often trying to capture the moment instead of living in the moment, or, can you do both?

My response was that we were “Capturing the moment allows us to re”live” the moment again and again. I think it is great!”

What are your thoughts on this topic? Were all these devices inappropriate at this holy occasion? Are we missing some of life’s precious moments because we are distracted by our gadgets? You do not have to be Catholic to see this is an interesting debate.

Please post your thoughts here.

Hilton is giving 15 teachers a chance to experience the world


Hilton is giving 15 teachers a chance to experience the world…will it be you?

Hilton HHonors™  believes that as nurturers of future generations of travelers, teachers play an important role in spreading understanding of other cultures. This year they are giving 15 teachers the opportunity to travel and bring their experiences back to the classroom through the Hilton HHonors Teacher Treks Travel Grant Competition.

This information is straight from the website:


The Inspiration

Hilton HHonors™, the guest loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide, has long believed in the power of travel to bring people together and foster greater understanding between countries.

This year, Hilton HHonors™ is celebrating culture by giving once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to teachers, many of whom rarely get to experience different cultures firsthand.

As nurturers of future generations of travelers, teachers play an important role in spreading understanding of other cultures and can have a profound impact on their students’ lives. Whether analyzing a historic work of art or telling a riveting account of an ancient civilization, teachers are the ultimate conduits to cultural enlightenment.

Hilton HHonors™ is giving teachers a passport to see the world and bring their experiences back to the classroom through Teacher Treks.

The Competition

Teacher Treks is an award program in which teachers vie for the chance to travel, explore and share culture firsthand. Through an essay submission, teachers discuss cultural destinations they have always wanted to visit and explain how they would share the learnings and experiences from a trip there with their students.

Thirty finalists will be selected by a panel of judges that will include education experts and actual teachers. The judging process will be managed independently by the Institute of International Education, a non-for-profit organization that fosters mutual understanding worldwide through educational exchange and training programs.

Fifteen grants will be awarded to 15 teachers selected by both public votes and an expert panel. Winning teachers will travel to their proposed destinations, chronicle their journeys and share their experiences with their students. Each winning teacher must travel sometime during his or her 2013 summer break. In addition to the trip, each winning teachers’ school will also receive a $2,500 donation to use for cultural activities or enhancements.


  • 15 winners will receive a trip to the destination of their choice, valued at $6,000, along with a $2,500 donation to their school
  • 15 runners-up will receive a $2,500 donation to their school
  • One winner will be randomly selected from all submissions to receive a cultural excursion for their classroom valued at $1,500
  • From those who voted in the Teacher Treks competition, 10 random winners will receive one Hilton HHonors™ Gift Card valued at $250

The Submission

Your Teacher Treks submission will consist of a photo, a 140 character title, two essays, and a letter of recommendation from your principal.

We recommend that you write your essays in a word processing application and check the word count before you copy-and-paste the essay into our submission form. The essays should be between 300 – 600 words. Please note that formatting (bold, italics, etc.) will not be retained.

Entry Summary:

Please summarize your entry in 140 characters or less (the length of a tweet) to tell voters why they should consider you. For example, “How exactly were the pyramids built? I’d like to find out! 4th grade history @ Parker Middle School will never be the same!”


1. The Teacher Treks program was established to recognize teachers who build awareness of cultural diversity within the classroom and to provide an opportunity for them to further their commitment to acting as cultural curators and molding the future generation of travelers. Please use this section to describe your proposed global cultural adventure: Where will you go (outside the U.S.)? What will you do? Why do you want to take this trip? How will your experiences help you better teach your subject to your students and contribute to your personal or professional goals?

2. Please use this section to describe your plan for sharing your experiences on the Teacher Treks Program with your students and colleagues. How will you infuse your experience into your curriculum? You should include specific details on projects or programs which you will implement upon your return.

Letter of Recommendation:

Request a letter of recommendation from your principal and save it as a JPG or PDF. The letter should illustrate the principal’s support for your participation in the Teacher Treks Competition. Click here for a letter of recommendation request template you can customize and then send to your principal.

Judging Criteria:

  • The applicant clearly and creatively articulated where and what their trip would entail and how their experiences would help them educate their students and contribute to their personal or professional goals: 25%
  • The applicant clearly articulated a plan to share the Teacher Treks Program experience with students and colleagues: 25%
  • Overall quality of the submission: 40%
  • Trip feasibility and availability of property within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio: 10%


If you have specific questions about the competition, we recommend you first read the Official Rules. If you still have a question, please email For technical issues or questions about this site, please send an email from the FAQ form.

Words Every Teacher Wants to Hear

“You inspired me!”

Those are the words every teacher wants to hear. Even if you don’t want to admit it, deep down you know it’s true. Those of us who are currently or who have been teachers, get up early every day and try to figure out ways to inspire our students. Some days are harder than others. We stay up late at night searching the Internet for new lesson plans, new ideas that just might get a concept through to that one student that just can’t grasp it. Teaching is a labor of love that for the most part can be thankless….until it happens.

It happened to me last night. I was sitting at a local high school watching a play, when during intermission a former student, now a Senior, approached me. I asked how school was going and she told me she had decided on a college. I was ecstatic! (I love that fact that most of my former students go on to college.) She named a prestigious film college and told me that her career path in film was because of a project I assigned when she was in the 8th grade. After the 3 minute music video project was over and she had to return my FlipVideo camera, she convinced her mom to buy her a digital video camera and she has been making films ever since. She said that she credits me for helping her find what really inspires her and makes her happy. {whoooosh – that’s my breath being swept away!}

I was stunned! It had just happened. I had inspired a student. Well, I guess it had really happened 5 years earlier and I was just now finding out about it, but I did it! I was on cloud nine. All I could think about is that saying that ends with, “{frivolous things don’t matter} …because I was important in the life of a child” and I really felt like that at that moment. I had made a difference.

This experience means so much to me, more than that student will ever know, but I do know what it’s like to have a teacher that impacts your life so much because I too had that experience. I was in 6th grade and Miss Josephine (imagine petite Filipino with thick accent and perfect posture) was the teacher. She loved to dance and me….well not so much. We had a performance we had to do for something and it was going to be a choreographed dance to Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” (great Catholic school song!) Well I refused and was sent to the principals office. After a long and difficult negotiation we agreed that I could work the cassette player for the performance. THAT was the moment that made the techie I am today. From that one decision that I would NOT dance, I was allowed to do something that I would not have ever been allowed to do. I soon ran all the AV equipment for the entire school and that continued until I graduated 8th grade.

Fast forward 24 years and I’m invited to a wedding of a classmate in my graduate cohort. My heart almost stops as I watch my slightly older but the same perfect postured 6th grade teacher walk down the aisle as a godparent of my friend, the groom! When the wedding was over and we were finding our seats for the reception, I watched as Miss Josephine walked perfectly postured to my table and sat down. I almost died. She recognized me but could not quite place me…I enlightened her, and we laughed. What were the chances that we would not only be at the same wedding but that he would seat us at the same table. I was able to finally tell her that she was the reason I was a techie and proud of it. I was a teacher and I was very proud of that!

I wonder if she felt the way I do about my experience last night?  Humbled. Excited. Proud.

I inspired a student!

Look who I ran into?

Miss Josephine & me