Forward this newsletter to a friend—New Reader? Subscribe Here

SpotlightTune InResourcesHappeningsContact Us



As I was reading Nancy Farmer's “The Sea of Trolls,”—which reminds me a lot of Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea, a book published the same year I was born (1968) —
I ran across a passage that reminded me of many of the fascinating concepts shared during yesterday's Day of Discovery, organized and sponsored by Discovery Education, KLRN (PBS) Connect, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Area 20, and Alamo Heights ISD in
San Antonio, Tx. My thanks to Discovery Education staff Justin Karkow, Steve Dembo, Mike Bryant as well as Malinda McCormick (KLRN) and Jennifer Faulkner (TCEA Area 20) for organizing
the event! And, to my wife (shown left ) for attending the day with me.
Listen to Day of Discovery podcasts (all audio is in OGG format)

  1. Steve Dembo's Keynote (Slightly edited to remove the bulk of the Discovery video at the beginning.)
  2. Mike Bryant's Digital Storytelling Presentation
  3. Steve Dembo's Presentation on A Day of in the Life of a Discovery Educator
  4. Access the materials and slideshows for the presentation via this link (added 12/6/2009)

As we work to transform teaching, learning and leading practices in schools it's quite easy to slip back into constrained behavior rather than learn to explore the possibilities available to us.
Finding trusty comrades to do so is even more difficult...the passage from Nancy Farmer's book
is as follows:

“You see, lad, most people live like birds inside a cage. It makes them feel safe. The world's a frightening place, full of glory and wonder and danger. It's better—so most people think—to pretend
it isn't there.”

This passage rung true and brought to mind the learning opportunities shared during Day of Discovery. Below is a blurry image of Steve sharing a presentation I took with my lowly camera phone.
The slideshow represents Darren Kuropatwa as one of the teaching wizards who have taken advantage of enabling students to publish more, and as a result, become more engaged because they want the recognition that comes with sharing more with Jean Rosseau says, When a man dies he clutches in his hands only that which he has given away during his lifetime.
It's built into who we are as human beings, isn't it, this
desire to share?


Steve Dembo ( gave the keynote address. One of the examples was Judson Collier demonstrating their passion via the can educators prepare students for that kind of world?...Judson Collier, a 16 year old high school student from Jacksonville, Florida. You read that right - 16 years old. I originally found Judson via Twitter, and he started participating as a creative on crowdSPRING. He wanted in on the Community Manager action, and in order to get our attention,
he created this super impressive video:


Stop-Motion App-uh-lu-cat-ion from Judson on Vimeo.

I found Steve's presentation particularly fascinating since a set of his slides included Introducing
the Book
and the follow up video where 3 students are trying to double-click images and words in their own video. These are the same videos I used myself with museum directors earlier this week, so they were fresh in my mind. However, where I chose to focus on student examples, Steve approached it by introducing teachers who were doing awesome things in a globally, connected world. It was a great way to show teachers how others are using technology to engage their students.

My focus in my presentations is on how students are 21st Century learners taking advantage
of technology to do things in spite of roadblocks school administrations throw up. It taps into
that desire to overcome the frustrating obstacles we encounter as classroom educators.
As such, Steve's presentation helped me move in a different direction.

This image shared below by Doug Peterson (along with some wonderful reflections)
designed by Sylvia Tolisano (Langwitches) captured my eye:
(Image Source:

As learners with access to 21st Century tools that enable our learning to be more than lonely endeavors, it's easy to fall into the "caged bird" approach Farmer describes through her Bard character in The Sea of Trolls. Silvia Tolisano (Langwitches) describes it in this way more
directly and to the point:

Most teachers who have embraced 21st century teaching and learning are indeed alone or part of
a small minority in their school or district. It sure can feel that one is walking a lonely hallway with
no one around or even running away as they see you approach.

But, of course, the truth is that transparency is there and available...we may feel ourselves in a closed bubble, but the truth is, we are in a transparent bubble. It is reminiscent of Kim Cofino's words in presentation: "Connect yourself to connect your students!"

This aloneness is something we've endured for so long that it's become normal...phrases like
"behind the classroom door," "through the keyhole," remind us that teaching and learning in today's schools is a lonely endeavor, a do-it-alone exercise for which we will be held accountable.
Read 10 Places for Teachers To Collaborate and Communicate Online
(Image Citation: Apple's Game Changer: Downloading Now, New York Times, Available 12/06/2009)

New technologies offer us access to a wealth of media and resources...yet it continues to be allowable for educators to ignore them. Safety concerns are one of the reasons why this
happens, but it may be simply that old habits are holding us back.

I also had the good fortune listen to Steve later in an afternoon session—after a heavy lunch from Fresh Horizons Creative Catering, which was just sumptuous—but one of the presentations that emphasized this idea of global connectedness was Justin's presentation on GoogleEarth. While I
am not a heavy-user of Google Earth, I do recognize its incredible potential. It was while sitting
there in Justin's presentation that it occurred to me that while, Yes, I was familiar with these technologies myself, it was a wonderful experience to watch how teachers new to the idea of
Google Earth responded. The technology aspect of the presentation was not overwhelming, yet
one of the teachers asked in an aside to a colleague, "Is there Google Earth for Dummies?"  
(check the link to see it at Amazon).

Each presentation served to underscore a point that Justin was quick to emphasize in the final session—whether you use Discovery Education resources or not, there are a wealth of digital
media that can be used to transform how you approach teaching and learning...all free and
ready for you to use.

You can read more on the Day of Discovery and find other great resources at
Miguel’s blog Around the Corner, here

Comments on the Spotlight? E-mail us at

Spotlight Tune In Resources Happenings Contact Us

Tune In

DVT Channel

The Human Spark

Premiering January 2010
After some three and a half billion years of life’s evolution on this planet – and after almost two million years since people recognizable as human first walked its surface – a new human burst upon the
scene, apparently unannounced.

It was us.

Until then our ancestors had shared the planet with other human species. But soon there was only us, possessors of something that gave us unprecedented power over our environment and everything else alive. That something was – is – the Human Spark.

In a three-part series to be broadcast on PBS in 2010, Alan Alda takes these questions personally, visiting with dozens of scientists on three continents, and participating directly in many experiments – including the detailed examination of his own brain.

FRONTLINE -Digital Nation

Over a single generation, the Web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect of modern culture, transforming the way we work, learn, and connect in ways that we’re only beginning to understand.  
In Digital Nation, airing Tuesday, February 2 at 9 PM on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE producer Rachel Dretzin (Growing Up Online) teams up with one of the leading thinkers of the digital
age, Douglas Rushkoff (The Persuaders, Merchants of Cool), to continue to explore life on the virtual frontier.  The film is the product of a unique collaboration with visitors to the Digital Nation Web site, who for the past year have been able to react to the work in progress and post their own stories online.  Dretzin and her team report from the front lines of digital culture—from love affairs blossoming in virtual worlds, to the thoroughly wired classrooms of the future, to military bases where the Air Force is fighting a new form of digital warfare.  Along the way, they begin to map the critical ways that technology is transforming us, and what we may be learning about ourselves in the process.


Tune In



Contact Us


KLRN Connect

KLRN Connect

Click and Engage
Not a subscriber of KLRN Connect? Click here

Ensure Your Teachers are Associated with the Correct School
Do you have teachers that moved to a new school within your district over the summer months? 
How do you ensure their KLRN Connect usernames and passwords are assigned to the correct schools? One way is to shuffle them from one school to another. In the past, this required someone with administrative access, but that is not the case anymore! Teachers can shuffle themselves from one school to another - in five easy steps. They are as follows: 

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the Passcode Login tab 
  3. Enter the new school's passcode  (get the passcode from your school’s
    admin or email
  4. Enter in your existing DE streaming username/password 
  5. Click the login box

Here is a PowerPoint link that walks you through the steps above - screenshot by screenshot.

Get more involved with your use of KLRN Connect in the classroom with these fantastic teaching
tips from Discovery Education streaming.

Click here to go to the page in KLRN Connect or click on the links below. Login required.  image
Are you new to KLRN Connect or just need a refresher? Try this online Getting Started Guide.

Discovery Educator Network Webinar Series

The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is a global community of educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking. With over 25,000 members providing professional development to over 250,000 educators worldwide, the DEN connects teachers both on-line and in-person. Discovery Educators have exclusive access to a wide range of resources, professional development activities, networking opportunities, exclusive Discovery Educator
events and more!

Voted the best professional development website in 2007 by the Association of Educational Publishers, this website is a place to connect to other educators across the globe. Here, all users can read the blogs and discussion boards. Discovery Educators (any educator that has a Discovery account) have the ability to comment on the blogs, post to the discussion boards, and register for Discovery Educator Network events.

PBS TeacherLine of Texas

PBS TeacherLine of Texas
PBS TeacherLine courses are approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and count towards required CPE hours.

District course licensing and ELL/ESL courses are now available! Contact us for more information:, 512.232.9406.

PBS TeacherLine courses are approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification
(SBEC) and count towards required CPE hours.

Special station pricing is available for individual course registrations. Call Malinda McCormick at
210-270-9000, to register for your course at lower rates than nationally advertised!

You take our free, two-hour orientation course, Practice Learning Online with TeacherLine*,
to prepare for online learning. Enter the course through your My Courses page.
At the end of this course, you will be familiar with:

  • The importance of time management and the self-discipline required to be a successful online learner.
  • Skills for navigating course content quickly and efficiently.
  • Strategies to improve the quality of your participation in an online learning community.
  • Where to go for help.
  • Resources available through PBS TeacherLine.

In order to take the free orientation course, you must first join PBS TeacherLine. Join for free.

PBS TeacherLine Courses to Consider

TECH410 Capstone I: Developing a NETS•T Technology Portfolio

Grades: Kindergarten-12
Hours: 45
In this 12-week course you will deepen your thinking about effective teaching with technology.
Learn how to collaborate to create a digital portfolio demonstrating the 2008 NETS•T incorporating lessons or projects that exemplify effective use of technology. Capstone I is a prerequisite for enrollment in Capstone II.

TECH415 PBS TeacherLine / ISTE Capstone Certificate Program / Capstone II

Grades: Kindergarten-12
Hours: 45
PBS TeacherLine has teamed up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to certify teachers who lead the way in classroom technology integration. This research based, online professional development program empowers you to achieve the following:

  • Demonstrate your mastery of ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T),
  • Earn recognized certification in technology integration,
  • Build a community of support for technology integration. Program participants engage
    in the following activities:
  • Identify relevant research about technology and learning,
  • Share digital creations that demonstrate technical standards in classroom situations,
  • Develop a multimedia portfolio of classroom projects,
  • Exchange ideas and strategies with other program participants,
  • Interact with a coach who provides guidance and feedback.

The Capstone Program consists of three courses. In this course, Capstone II, you will create a portfolio exhibit, showcasing your students' use of technology. Capstone I and Capstone II are 15 weeks long each. Note: Capstone I must be completed prior to enrollment.
PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection

PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection

Get Connected!
In the drive to improve teaching practice and student achievement, many schools and districts are
turning to instructional coaches to support school-wide improvement and enhance classroom
practice. Coaches require high level resources and professional development so they can lead the way
in reform initiatives and deliver on specific district instructional and student performance goals.
At PBS TeacherLine, we support professional development from the classroom forward. Our new
PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection service will help you build a customized, practical professional development program for your teachers by providing sustained and targeted support for coaches.

pctlDownload Brochure
Start a 30-day Free Trial

Peer Connection is a service of PBS TeacherLine, the premier resource for online professional development for preK-12 educators.

Instructional Coaches and Mentors
Peer Connection is designed to improve the effectiveness of teachers you support.
Professional Learning Communities
Interactive group and network functionality provides web 2.0 technology to support your PLC activities. Are you ready to bring PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection to your school or district? PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection is the right set of tools for the coaches n your school or district. To learn more about pricing, available discounts for multi-site subscriptions, and other program benefits, please call us today at 1.800.572.6386 or you can get started by downloading this purchase order form.

PBS Teachers

Access, Analyze, Act: From Economic Theory to Financial Reality

Understanding the economy and its many facets can be challenging -- particularly in light of the ongoing economic crisis filled with complicated concepts (e.g., securitization, frozen credit) and economic tools (e.g., derivatives, government bailouts).

In order for high school students to feel invited to access economic information, analyze it, and act on it, they must successfully connect abstract economic principles to tangible, real-world examples. Recognizing relevance in specific manifestations of economic theory will help students better understand the general characteristics of the U.S. market economy. As a result, students will be much more likely to gain meaningful perspective on the constantly evolving economy.

PBS Teachers Webinars for January
Sign up for free membership in PBS Teachers at  

Visit PBS Teachers to search for lesson plans and other resources for your classroom.

Middle Level STEM Education With "Design Squad," "Fetch," and "DragonflyTV" Tuesday,
January 26, 8-9 p.m. ET

How Do I Participate?
Simply sign up to become a PBS Teacher and you will receive a webinar invite the week of the event.
PBS Teachers enjoy access to all of our FREE services, including the PBS Teachers online community, where preK-12 educators can collaborate with their peers, discuss digital media use, and "save" online instructional resources. Members of PBS Teachers also receive a 10% discount at the PBS Educational Media website.

Visit PBS Teachers to search for lesson plans and other resources for your classroom.

PBS Teacher Connect

Join Today

More Resources

Social Media Pages!!


Tune In



Contact Us


 Training through Television Early childhood teachers!
Are you interested in earning FREE training hours from the comfort of your own home? Now you can do just that! Each month, KLRN airs specially-selected programs geared just for those who work with young children. It’s fast and easy to start, and you can register and enroll for courses online. Simply tune in to KLRN, submit a pre- and post-test by the required dates, and download your certificate of training hours. Visit and click on “Providers” to learn more.

KLRN’s Looking for Trainers – Daytime Parent and Caregiver Workshop Sessions
Do you know a retired educator who would enjoy working with parents and caregivers of young children? We are looking for several enthusiastic, outgoing session trainers to start this fall at sites throughout
San Antonio. Contact Maricella Borroel, KLRN’s Director of Early Childhood Services, at or 210.270.9000, ext. 2265, for more information.

Is Now

The PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest
January 27-April 12, 2010

The PBS Kids Go!
Writers Contest invites children in grades K-3 to create stories using their own words
and pictures, and recognizes their efforts with certificates and prizes. Parents, teachers, and librarians are encouraged to help children participate in the contest. Please log on to after January 27th for more information!

Sid the Science Kid Science Night
Families living in the 78207, 78237, or 78228 zip codes are invited to Sid the Science Kid Science Night on Thurs., Jan. 21 from 4 pm to 7 pm at The Neighborhood Place, 3014 Rivas. There will be hands-on science activity stations, giveaways, and a special appearance by
Sid the Science Kid. Boeing and the San Antonio Children's Museum will also participate in
the evening. For more information, contact Maricella Borroel at 210.270.9000, ext. 2265 or

Early ON Family Fun Day at South Park Mall
Mark your calendars and be sure to join us for Early ON’s Family Fun Day on Sat., Feb. 13 from 10 am to 2 pm at South Park Mall. There will be entertainment, hands-on literacy activities throughout the mall, and special appearances by Super WHY! Early ON is a school readiness project funded by the City of San Antonio. For more information,


Tune In



Contact Us

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us. We want to hear your comments and/ or suggestions about what
you would like to see in our Education E-Newsletter. We are here to serve and meet your needs.
Please send all comments to


Would you like to write an upcoming Spotlight article? Contact:
Malinda McCormick
Director of School Services

Spotlight article written by
Miguel Guhlin
Read his Biography!