Friday, September 5, 2014

This Week @Elkmont & Beyond! September 2-5, 2014

This week has been an incredibly busy and rewarding week.  

Digital Passport Initiative Deployment:

Elkmont High School came back from the holiday weekend to the much anticipated Digital Passport Rollout Day. Piloted by Wendy Brightman at Blue Springs Elementary School last year, the Limestone County Schools Digital Passport Initiative was rolled out county wide this school year. Students have spent the month of August working through Digital Citizenship Modules to ensure they know how to be safe online. Students have also learned the basic use and care of their new MacBook Air laptops.

Elkmont High School started out our DPI Rollout Day by having classes come in one at a time to pack their laptops and charging cables into their laptop bag. Students logged into their laptops so that we could troubleshoot early in the day any log in issues that might exist.

Student aides from the high school helped move the laptops to the gym where a stage was set up for presenting the laptops to students "graduation style". In addition to the laptops, Digital Citizenship Certificate of Completion were also prepared, rolled and tied with a red ribbon.

At 1:00 all 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students filed into the gym and the ceremony began. Mr. Garris started by saying a few words and leading the pledge. Dr. Sisk then gave a brief speech about the Digital Passport Initiative and the learning opportunities that will now be available to them. Next, Ms. Pat Gartman took the stage. Calling one class at a time, Ms. Gartman read out the names of each student. As students proceeded across the stage they first received their laptop from their teacher and then their certificate of digital citizenship from Mr. Garris. When all laptops had been distributed, the 3rd and 4th grade classes posed with administration for group photos. Students then proceeded to the lobby area of the gym where Elkmont's wonderful PTSO had cookies and juice for the students. Our PTSO also spearheaded ordering covers for the MacBook Airs and delivered many of those to the students in their classrooms.

After getting snack courtesy of the PTSO, students went back to their classrooms for the last hour of the day. 3rd and 4th grades teachers had a variety of activities planned for this last hour. Ms. Adams jumped right in and taught her students how to use AirDrop. Ms. English got her students started taking pictures of themselves in preparation for learning about AirDrop. Other teachers walked their student through how to find the Elkmont High School website and how to log into their Moodle accounts.

Their were a few bumps in the road along the way but in the end, with the help of SwitchDesk, parent volunteers, student aides, teachers and administrators everything worked out in the end.

Take a look below at all the fun we had during Elkmont's DPI Deployment Day!

Building PLCs at Elkmont:

This week grade level/departmental PLC Teams began meeting to start developing a technology plan of action for their PLC and for individual teacher PLP requirements under EducateAlabama.

The 5th Grade PLC meet this week and set using Google Classroom with their students as their September PLC and PLP goal. To help support this goal, Ms. Robertson created Google Classroom tutorials and has set up dates and times to co teach using Google Classroom.

Step by Step Picture Tutorials:

For a SlideShare Tutorial for Google Classroom click HERE.

Linda Lindsey has compiled a list of 12 of the BEST Google Classroom Tutorials HERE.

Google Classroom:

Thursday, September 5, 2014 Ms. Robertson and Ms. Hardiman spent the first three periods of the day teaching students how to access their Google Classroom account. The students where very excited as they saw the ability to communicate in real time with their teacher on assignments shared through Google Classroom, worked on a shared Google Spreadsheet, and discovered the lifesaving and telling Restore History feature in Google Drive documents.

We learned several things during our day together, the most important was listening and following directions. This may seem obvious but the need to listen and follow directions is especially critical when using technology. Even one tiny little period out of place will cause frustration on the part of the person trying to get to a website or accomplish a technology task. Having completed this activity successfully, I am confident these students will be more apt to listen and follow directs next time now that they truly the the immediate effects of not doing so.

We also learned to support and help each other. This goes a long way in having a cohesive classroom and building positive classroom relationships. We were cheering so loud for our fellow classmates as they worked diligently to type in the URL perfectly that Ms. Adams stuck her head in the door to see what we were doing to have so much fun!

As a reward for successfully completing the lesson objectives for the day, students used the last 10 minutes of class to play with Photo Booth and Incredibox.

Ms. Hardiman and her students were awesome and patient as we worked through the inevitable kinks that pop up when using new technologies. I can't wait to see what they do with Google Classroom now that they know how it works!

EdCamp Atlanta:

With a little over a week before our third EdCamp Atlanta, organizers meet via Google Hangouts to finalize plans for the big day.  

EdCamp Atlanta just gets bigger and better every year.  We have an amazing group of sponsors who have provided us with the means to provide our attendees with delicious breakfast and lunch as well as an amazing array of door prizes.  Please find and support our sponsors HERE.

One super fun part of the EdCamp Atlanta lunch time will be getting a keepsake picture courtesy of TapSnap.  I first learned of TapSnap during ISTE's #EdTech Karaoke Party when Elissa Malespina and I got silly.

EdCamp Atlanta is also going to have a MakerSpace area featuring robotics courtesy of Hummingbird Robotics, Sphero and Little Bits.  

EdCamp Atlanta session boards will also look a bit different as well.  We will still have 25 and 50 minutes sessions but with the distinction of See, Learn Do sessions and Round Table Discussion session.  

Start the EdCamp Atlanta fun a day early at the EdCamp Atlanta TweetUp.  We will enjoy great company, meeting friends face to face, see amazing and functional classroom furniture and enjoy light refreshments and drinks at Dekalb Office in Alpharetta, Ga on Friday, September 12, 2014 from 6-8 pm ET.  

#iCONNECT Tech Tips Smore

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