Friday, October 10, 2014

This Week @ Elkmont and Beyond! October 6th - 10th

Kicking It Up A Notch With DPI

Across the country schools are moving to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or 1:1 Initiatives. Many teachers are apprehensive about these changes for several reason. One reason for this apprehension is due to teachers thinking the technology is going to interfere with teaching core content. What we are learning at Elkmont is that the technology simply merges with the lessons teachers have already prepared to teach. In other words, technology "kicks it up a notch"!

Another reason some may feel apprehensive about DPI/BYOD comes as teachers from one school compare themselves to other schools in Limestone County. None of the schools are or were intended to do the same things with the Digital Passport Initiative rollout. Each school is different, thus the program is custom tailored by the Instructional Technology Facilitator, Administrator, and DPI Teachers to meet the specific needs of each school. Elkmont High School's DPI Team is doing AWESOME and we will continue to learn and grow together this year. Thank you for being such a wonderful team and being patient as we build our unique version of DPI at Elkmont!

This week our DPI Team has used Google Presentations and iMovie to review nouns, vocabulary, and to work in collaborative teams on National Landmark research. Not only did we learn how to use Google Presentations and iMovie, we also learned how to find elementary school appropriate images in safe search portals like Google Junior and KidzSearch. We also got organized with our MacBook calendars and gClassFolders.

As if that wasn’t enough, we set our new Limestone County Symbaloo pages up as our homepage on both Internet Browsers, Safari and Google Chrome. Now, any time we open an Internet search engine, it takes us straight to Symbaloo and all of the links we use. Use this link to start using LCS Symbaloo:

S.W.O.T. - LCS Instructional Technology Facilitators Meeting

This week the eight Instructional Technology Facilitators in Limestone County Schools meet to debrief, reflect, connect, share and learn. We started by using the SWOT Analysis model to reflect on what we have done as a team during the first full year of the district's Digital Passport Initiative Rollout.

We continued the meeting by sharing resources and coming up with action plans until our next meeting.

Limestone County School District is surrounded by school districts who are also implementing 1:1 initiatives, but where Limestone beats the others is in realizing the critical importance of having Instructional Technology Facilitators embedded in each school. I credit this forward thinking to our District Technology Director, Karen Tucker and Superintendent, Dr. Tom Sisk.

Cool Tech Finds of the Week

Cool writing prompts that provide grade 5-12 students with an authentic audience and global connections.

Writing prompts for K-4 students that also provides an authentic audience and global connections.

Gone Google Story Builder does is creates a video of your writing process. You can have characters, writers, and etc... You type in the windows what each person or character says and the Gone Google Story Builder builds a video. You can even add music! You really have to try it for yourself to see it.

Ideas for Gone Google Story Builder:

  • Great way to teach students the process of writing.
  • Great way to visually see a story/writing come to life.
  • Great way to Collaborate.

StoryBird is committed to sparking user imagination by providing a variety of colorful and vibrant Illustrations that ignite creativity. First, choose which photos you want to include in your book, then incorporate your very own dialogue -- before long words will be pouring onto the page. Although this is a great site for younger children, users must be 13 years of age to become a member. If a child is younger than 13, he/she must provide a parent’s email address, and then the parent is immediately notified that their child has become a storybird.

Staying Current w/DIY Professional Development

TL Virtual Cafe: The amazing Shelly Terrell and Jake Duncan presented, Saddle Up & Rope ‘Em In! Codes to Teach Like a Cowboy/ Cowgirl

This session was perfect for librarians AND classroom teachers! 

Teaching can feel like trying to conquer the Wild West. We need inspiration and advice from trailblazers used to rough terrains. Two Texas educators invite you to join this campfire conversation in which they will share some practical ideas and tips for handling anything from fundraising to teaching with little technology. Giddy up! Get your boots on and join us for this adventurous ride that’ll get you fired up and equipped for the school year.

SimpleK12:  School Libraries: Remaining Relevant in a Digital World

Are you looking for ways to keep your school library relevant in an ever changing digital landscape? Would you like to increase student engagement and fun within the library, while still maintaining academic and educational focus? Join Nikki D. Robertson as she shows you how to evaluate and manage your library's digital footprint and where you can get started improving that footprint. She will share how to get connected with others like you in order to share and learn new ideas. Nikki will also suggest ways in which you can increase student engagement in the library by incorporating makerspaces, robotics, and gamification for a fun, interactive, and educational library.

#iCONNECT Tech Tips SMore Newsletter

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