Author Archive

Posted: June 12, 2012 by Aaron Puley in Uncategorized


Often times as teachers we are challenged by our students as to ‘Why do I have to learn this?’…. sometimes the answer doesn’t ring well with them – ‘It is in the curriculum’. This ‘curriculum’ is such a foreign idea for students. With the developments of the ‘Growing Success’ document from the Ministry of Education in Ontario the idea of offering students differentiated instruction as well as creating self regulating, self reflective, autonomous learner can present a challenge to teachers… but how about offering the students the chance to create their own lessons using the curriculum guidelines? How about opening the curriculum documents and saying ‘Where do you want to take your learning today?’ I opened my class to just such a venture. The entire unit was developed by students for students and they were never happier or more engaged. The lessons included a wide range of activities. It was…

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Visit Me at

Posted: January 11, 2012 by Aaron Puley in Uncategorized

Visit me at

Hi, Everyone

For quite some time now I have been self-hosting my blog at (also I just noticed that once I bought my domain and started to self-host my blog that I forgot to redirect this URL to my new one (thanks to Jen @faulkneronline) for bringing this to my attention.

So, please visit me in the LearningHood at – I’ll be sure to redirect this link shortly.



The ScienceHood is Rebranded for ISTE 2011

Posted: June 27, 2011 by Aaron Puley in ISTE


The ScienceHood has received a bit of a facelift for ISTE 2011 (@iste11). The learning platform of @faulkneronline’s courses looks a bit different these days as we prepare to present a model classroom at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) in Philadelphia. The title of the environment, “ScienceHood”, is a merger of “Science” and “Neighbourhood” = “ScienceHood”. The name indicates that learning is a collaborative and a community event – everyone is part of the process together: students, staff, parents, and community. The forum we use is a self-hosted WordPress platform with a Buddypress install. Buddypress is, as they call it, social networking in a box. It takes a standard WordPress blog platform and transforms it into a very dynamic social community which is very similar to Facebook and other social networking sites. Because it is attached to our WordPress install, however, Buddypress is safe and secure – administered and managed by the teacher and co-managed by the studnets. Within this environment, the teacher (in this case Jen Faulkner @faulkneronline) can communicate with her students, their parents, and the community while the students comment amongst each other and reflect upon their own learning. As it is web-based, activities and lessons can be rich and dynamic, full of web links, embedded audio, video, and imagery. It is much easier to manage a differentiated learning environment through a portal such as this.

Check out our session at ISTE 2011 on 12:45pm EDT in 119a –

Connect with us on Vokle at ISTE 2011

Posted: June 27, 2011 by Aaron Puley in ISTE

On 12:45pm EDT, we will be going LIVE from ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia, PA. During this session, we will be conducting a model lesson for participants on, what we like to call, Digi-Centers for Learning – Daily DI (Differentiated Instruction) for UDL (Universal Design for Learning). Become a student in this model lesson that focuses on student-centered, inquiry-based learning. Explore scientific concepts in rotation through podcasts, webquests, and other digital activities. We are a recommend session by SETSIG – CLICK HERE to visit the description on the ISTE 2011 site.

CLICK HERE to visit us at Vokle and and to partipate in Monday’s session. Three students (Chelsey, Monica, and Delaney) will be visiting us live via video conference to share their reflections and experiences in discovery based learning. The shift is often as big for students as it is for teachers – hear them first hand. We also have an awesome mother-daughter reflection from Melissa and her mom, Sandie. Student voice is always the best!

ISTE Connections:

NETS•S: 1- 6
NETS•T: 1- 5
NETS•A: 2, 5
Keywords: Differentiated Instruction, Science, Engagement, Universal Design, Assessment

Here we are…ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia

Posted: June 26, 2011 by Aaron Puley in ISTE

We arrived today at the Convention Center in Philadephia to set up and prepare the room for our model classroom tomorrow at 12:45pm. We checked out the setup and the presenter area hook-ups. Everything is set for a great day – see you there tomorrow.

The Twitter hashtag for our session: #digicenters
Our Twitter accounts: @faulkneronline and @misterpuley
Vokle link:
ISTE Summary:

Welcome to ISTE Members

Posted: June 24, 2011 by Aaron Puley in Uncategorized

Welcome to all ISTE members.  We are so happy to share our students success with you.  We hope that you find a morsel to take with you to your school to try.  We believe in this method of teaching, its empowerment for students and the development of skills needed for future successes in their life is worth sharing.  We beleive that meeting the students where they are at and encouraging them to grow within in their strengths and celebrate them working through their challenges is where good pedigady meets student success.  Be willing to take the risk of changing from the ‘chalk and talk’ method of teaching, learn with your students and remember – You are Fantastic because you try!  Welcome…. please feel free to introduce yourself below…

Jennifer and Aaron

Welcome to ScienceHood Blocks.

I made this post for a few of my colleagues involved in a 1:1 laptop project here in HWDSB and thought that it might be valuable to a larger group. So, here you go…


The Smart Sync software will enable you to better utilize the power of the 1:1 laptop project in a collaborative manner with your students. You will also be able to limit the distraction of the laptops (video games, music, YouTube, Facebook, etc.) and help keep the students on task by limiting or allowing internet connections as you see fit. Further, you can poll / quiz students for instant assessment and to gauge where they are at and where your instruction needs to go. The chat feature is quite dynamic and allows for the teacher to engage in conversation with a student privately, thus limiting the need to center out a student or draw public attention to an undesirable or off-task behaviour. Groups can be assigned for collaborative work between students and the broadcast feature will be very useful for celebrating student work or discussing exemplars for any particular task.

With your tablets (screen flipped around), you will be able to walk around the room with your computer as if it was a clipboard and monitor the screens of each student in thumbnail form. If you would like to focus on any given student, you could click the thumbnail and the “Observe” tab. This will let you observe what the student is doing and allow you to interact with them either collaboratively or by overtaking their computer and controlling it remotely.

Monitoring Screens

To demonstrate a concept or lesson, you could broadcast your screen to the students, or broadcast another student’s screen; you can also play media (i.e. video or audio) from your computer and have it play on theirs. This way, they can watch at their own pace and ask questions via the Chat Feature or Question tab.

Another powerful feature is the ability to collect assignments and hand them back all within the software itself. This is a just a few of the many tools available to you and will truly enhance your ability to utilize the laptops as an additional learning tool and to engage the students through their use.

Here is a screencast I created for you documenting the setup of the teacher and student software. The installation is a two-part process – one software installation for the teacher and one software installation for the students. This should help you set it up with the students.

Here, too, is a link to “Navigating the User Interface” of Smart Sync –

Setting up Smart Sync for Teachers and Students

Smart Sync Demo