This blog post is by Tracy Peronard, a math teacher at Dakota Ridge High School. She has had a fascinating career track and shares some amazing insights into how Book Creator can be used for creative instruction and to set examples for students when using Jeffco Digital Tools.
Tracy has been teaching in Jeffco for nine years, eight of which have been at Dakota Ridge. She is from Atlanta, GA. and has a BS in Management from Georgia Tech. Tracy also completed a post-baccalaureate program at Georgia State University in Secondary Mathematics Education and is working to finish her Masters in Mathematics in the fall. Tracy and her husband moved to Littleton, CO. in 1998 where she was a stay at home mom for the first few years. In 2001, she went to work for the Lakewood Police Department as an Investigative Technician. She then left the LPD in 2010 and returned to the classroom. Her son graduated from Dakota Ridge in 2011 and her daughter graduated from Lakewood High School in 2014. She likes to run, play soccer, and go to the gym.
Tracy currently teaches trigonometry and Integrated Math 3. The Math 3 class is comprised entirely of juniors who are working on a math Capstone Project to fulfill the new graduation requirement. Tracy uses technology almost everyday in her math classroom. Thank you Tracy for sharing your expertise with us!
Dakota Ridge High School went 1:1 three years ago. I was excited that my students would each have a device of their own. I dove head first into the technology pool. Despite a lot of groaning from my geometry students, I had them use Geogebra for many tasks that once had been paper and pencil lessons and activities. By the end of the first six weeks, most students were able to successfully use the technology that I presented to them. Through Google Classroom, I provided links to various resources for my students. Since Chromebooks were new for both myself and my students, there were some bumps along the way. My students let me know what was good and more importantly what was bad.
This school year, I started teaching Trigonometry. The school has a set of books that the students can use in the classroom but the students cannot take the textbooks home. I saw students taking pictures of problem sets from the book. They did not take pictures of any of the examples, definitions, or formulas. I also noticed that students rarely used the textbook if they had access to the material electronically.
Nick Steinmetz (Jeffco Ed Tech Specialist) and our DTL Robin Luster, did professional development training at the start of this school year that included a brief overview of the new digital tools that were available throughout Jeffco. Book Creator was one of those tools. Initially, I was not interested. Nick used the example of English teachers using Book Creator; and I thought how fun it would be to have my math students write pages of a math book. From that "aha" moment came a spark. What if I wrote a book for my students?
Trigonometry is a one semester class. The first unit covers some topics that I taught my Honors Geometry students. I knew that I had some electronic resources that I wanted to share with my students; so I decided that I would write a book for this first unit. I worried that the book might flop, but I had not invested a lot of time writing a book covering only one unit. I decided not to start Unit 2 until I had feedback from the students.
The best part about writing an eBook is that you can include links to Geogebra activities, Khan Academy practice problems, and my own videos showing how to do select problems. The other advantage to putting all the resources into a book was that students did not have to search Google Classroom to find one old video or link. I watched a YouTube video to learn more about how to use Book Creator, then I started writing.
This is a snapshot from the Unit 1 book. It has a link to a Geogebra activity and an example video about Coterminal Angles.
Like all new tools, there was a learning curve. I clicked on every button to see what would happen. Sometimes, I discovered things by accident. The first few pages were slow, but by the time I had written the material for the first lesson, I felt fairly competent. I was hooked. I worked on the book on and off for a few days before school started. Once it was complete, I was proud of myself.
It did not matter how enamored I was of the Trigonometry Unit 1 book, because the true test was whether or not the students found value in it. I put a link to the book on Google Classroom and told the students that it was there. Not only did the book contain the Google Slides presentation that I would use in class but it had so much more, including homework for each lesson. Below is the Google Classroom post I showed my students when I introduced them to the book.
When it was time for the first test, the book became a valued resource to some of the students. I knew that some students would not use it, but my hope was that a few students would. Much to my delight, I had students ask if I was going to write a book for the next unit. That was all I wanted to hear. You can see the Unit 1 book here.
Since the first book, I have written one for each unit of Trigonometry and they have been easy to revise. The students like the interactivity of the book and students who want to work ahead now have a resource available so they can be self-paced. I use the same language when I talk in class as what is written. The two biggest sells for writing an eBook are that I am not trying to fit my way of teaching to a textbook that is 20 years old; and that I am presenting material to my students in a format that is tailored to their way of learning.
Exciting developments in the Jeffco EdTech world! We have been hard at work compiling and curating new and improved content for our YouTube channel. These new playlists are directly aligned to many of Jeffco’s Eight Digital Tools (Book Creator and DiscoveryEd content is coming soon!) These handy playlists briefly go over commonly used functions and provide step-by-step guidance on how to access and use features. Someone having trouble with how to create a PearDeck? There’s a playlist for that! WeVideo collaboration and creation? There are videos for that! These playlists (and our channel as a whole) are constantly growing, so subscribe if you haven’t already, to get updates!
Here are the current playlists. Please share this resource with your staff and fellow teachers!
Read&Write for Google
We’re constantly working to make this a better resource. Please reach out to your EdTech Specialist if you have ideas for videos or questions that aren’t answered with the current video offerings.
Innovating with Google keep in the math classroom
G Suite Learning Center: Google Keep - goo.gl/AMAbXb
EquatIO for Google- goo.gl/NYrzj2
Convert PDF and Photo Files to Text - goo.gl/L8UQN9
Staff Personal Accounts on ChromeBooks
Staff members have the rights to switch to personal accounts on district Chromebooks. They must log into the Chromebook with their district account but can then add a personal account to access certain resources. This process looks different on Chrome 78 than it has in the past. Please see this document for support.
History Settings on accounts
Although it appears that students can toggle off the ability to save their browing history in their individual Chrome settings, this is not the case. You will notice that the individual check boxes cannot be selected for our domain. The district is able to override these settings in Jeffco's Google Admin Console, which stores student browsing history in Vault.
Less Secure Apps
Many people connect 3rd party apps through Google, giving those apps permission to the user's G Suite Data. Google is beginning to limit the ability for less secure apps (LSAs) to access that data, so that the user's account is less susceptible to hijacking. As this change is occurring, we are finding that some vendors are not choosing to make the necessary security updates and are choosing to discontinue their products. If you are experiencing difficulty using Google to log into 3rd party tools, outside Jeffco's 8 Digital tools, please reach out to the vendor for support.
Chromebook Tips & Tricks
Check out some of the neat features available on Chromebooks!
Last Friday, Jeffco Ed Tech, in partnership with EdTechTeam Inc., hosted an amazing day of technology integration learning. This was a highly engaging day where sessions were tailored to support the TechforEd digital tools that Jeffco recently purchased for all students and teachers. Learning sessions were targeted around Jeffco’s 8 digital tools: Discovery Education, Pear Deck, WeVideo, Soundtrap, Google apps, Read&Write, Equatio and Seesaw. Rachel McKenzie, the DTL at Governor’s Ranch, stated, “I appreciated having time dedicated to learn and practice with our new digital tools!”
The day began with the fabulous keynote speaker and digital literacy consultant, Kim Polllishuke (@KimPollishuke) Kim came all the way from Toronto and is the host of the Shukes & Giffs podcast. Carly Moats, a district P3 Instructional Specialist, commented, “The self-empowering tone of Kim Pollishuke's keynote started the day of learning on the right foot! Simple reminders such as, find value in the struggle and get out of your own way offered all participants an entry point for their learning within the diverse sessions.”
Jeffco’s Ed Tech department was able to partner with EdTechTeam Inc. to bring this free event to our district through a promotional offer from Google. This complementary offer was made available through Jeffco’s purchase of Chromebooks for the TechforEd initiative. Thank you to our Jeffco voters for passing 5A in 2018, which has made the TechforEd initiative possible! We would also like to thank Green Mountain High School for providing the space and custodial staff for us to host this event. We are thankful for the partners we have in our wonderful Jeffco schools!
A trend on the rise as we go 1:1
making the why tangible
Planning and hosting the event
The tech committee met and created a plan for offering a variety of sessions in an evening setting at school. We surveyed the staff to see who could/would present and who would be willing to be a “roamer/helper” in each room to provide help through this process. With the help of the district Ed Tech team and Chris Paschke - Executive Director of Data Privacy and security, we provided a night full of opportunities for parents to learn how their kids are learning digitally. We had the library open throughout the night as a “Genius Bar” to provide on-demand help with their own technology, questions/answers, etc.
The evening was then split into two sessions with multiple options during each session - Google Classroom 101, Advanced Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Digital Wellness, and Data Privacy and Security (presentation not available).
Reflections after the event
We had families fill out an "exit ticket" before they left the event.
Looking at our feedback, here are some suggestions our families gave us to increase attendance next year:
Some of our own ideas for next time:
Ed Tech's Family Technology university cohort
December 9th - 15th
Did you know that Hour of Code was originally started to align with promoting Computer Science Education Week (December 9th-15th) and help teachers across the world realize that their students can learn to code? Computing is a fundamental part of daily life and just about every occupation. Computer Science Education Week is an annual program designed to inspire students to take an interest in computer science. Over 100,000 CSEdWeek/Hour of Code events are scheduled to take place around the world. Over 800 million students have participated in Hour of Code in over 180 countries! Computer Science Education Week is held annually to commemorate the birthday of computing pioneer Grace Hopper. No matter what grade level you teach, every student can participate in Hour of Code and learn the basic principles of computer science that apply to all programming languages.
To ensure the day is successful for your students, you'll want to prepare some things in advance. Here's a checklist:
Keep the Learning going...
Computer science education incorporates computational thinking and logic, while promoting creativity, and helping teach students perseverance. Check out this article from Code.org to talk to your students about Computer Science for Good in Your Classroom.
Keep the learning going after Computer Science Education Week! Pave the way for your students to use #CSforGood!
At Governor’s Ranch Elementary, the Digital Teacher Librarian, Rachel McKenzie has been using WeVideo with several groups of students. Recently, Ms. McKenzie had her 2nd grade WIN group use WeVideo to explain their understanding of severe weather.
They started with hurricane research, coming up with some guiding questions together about what they would need to know to do a weather broadcast (wind speed, common locations, etc) and then she had the kids look through library books and resources she sent them in Google Classroom to research. They organized with thinking maps. They used the research to build their script for the video, trying to put realistic facts into the video that were inspired by their research. They watched weather forecasts on YouTube so that they could try and use similar vernacular, such as "back to you in the studio!"
Ms. McKenzie and the students wrote the script together with the students dictating what they wanted to say. They did a lot of table reads and practiced the script everyday for about a week.
Kids decided what props they needed and then started filming! The students learned about using a green screen and determined what backgrounds were needed in order to make the video look authentic. Once they were ready, Ms. Mackenzie filmed each student in front of a green screen.
Using a Green Screen
After filming, students were able to collaborate on the video and decide what they wanted their post production video to look like. Ms. McKenzie, with student input, edited the video, added transitions and captions and then had the students give their critiques. Once the students chimed in, the video was completed. Finally, the group showed it to their classmates and community so they could see their learning. This lesson was a great way to show how WeVideo can be used to help synthesize learning and allow students to show their understanding through their own creations. The students stated that they loved having choice in their project. They got to decide what to research and how to create the video. They said it was fun, engaging, and even though it was a lot of work, they really learned a great deal. One student said that it was really cool to come to WIN and they were so excited to share with friends and family.
Channel 189 News Severe Weather report
Bite-Sized Video Learning
Google has developed an email subscription to a series of bite-sized videos that support educators in learning how to use the G Suite for Education. For those that subscribe, you will receive 8 weeks of short videos, delivered to your inbox. These video-based tutorials cover Drive, Docs, Classroom, Forms, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Gmail and should take less than 15 minutes to complete each week. To sign up for these videos, please visit the Google Teacher Center.
EDu in 90 YouTube Playlist
Would you like access to bite-sized videos without having to sign up for the 8-week email subscription? Three times a month, the Google for Education YouTube Channel publishes a 90-second video to their Edu in 90 playlist. If you choose to subscribe to the playlist, you will get an email notification when a new video is created. Each episode will focus on an important topic for educators, administrators, and school leaders - things like product updates, new programs, and helpful resources for the classroom.
Pro Tip: Quick launch Google Apps
Changes in Add-On Access
Google has made changes to how users install G Suite Add-Ons. Beginning 1/2/20, all add-ons will be managed by Jeffco through a whitelist; only vetted and approved add-ons will be available to #TeamJeffco. To request an add-on be vetted, use the standard district vetting process. District vetting occurs over winter/summer break. Submit your request by 12/6.
Hangouts Meet Updates
Last year, Classic Hangouts broke apart into two new products: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Hangouts Meet is a video conferencing tool that allows participants to create virtual meeting spaces. Although Hangouts Meet is not available for Jeffco students, it is available for all Jeffco staff. This product has had a few changes over the past month that might support your work!
The Google Infused Classroom Book Study
REmoving Pinned Apps
A few people have requested the ability to remove the Read and Write extensions from their pinned app bar at the bottom of Chromebooks. We have removed forced pinning of these extensions, but you will need to physically remove them from your app launcher. To un-pin, right-click in the tab and select "Unpin tab." There is no keyboard shortcut for pinning or unpinning a tab.
What's a Chrome App?
Generally speaking, Chrome Apps are bookmarked websites. Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Hangouts etc. are all native G Suite Chrome apps. These apps can be found by clicking on the app icon (the "waffle") in the top of your chrome browser. You can also install third-party Chrome apps from the Chrome Webstore; however, fewer companies are continuing to manage and develop Chrome apps, as many people just choose to bookmark the website for easy access.
Pro Tip: When bookmarking a website, delete the words to create a simple favicon. This allows you to add many more bookmarks to the top of your browser.
What's an Add-On?
Google add-ons live within G Suite for Education Chrome apps: GMail, Docs, Sheets, Forms and Slides. Add-ons are often created by third-party developers, and they enhance how the app functions.
Pear Deck, one of Jeffco's digital tools, is an Add-on that functions within Google Slides and is available for all staff and students. It allows for interactive slides that provide opportunities to formatively assess students while delivering direct instruction!
Jeffco Ed Tech's G Suite Add-on Webpage
What's an Extension?
Extensions boost the functionality of your Chrome browser. They customize the experience you have while browsing the internet, and are often created by third-party companies. Extensions can, and should, be managed regularly to ensure your browser is functioning efficiently. If your browser is acting slow or inefficient, clean out the extensions you are no longer using on a regular basis. Also, consider only adding extensions that provide a strong value to your daily browsing experience.
Read and Write for Google and EquatIO, two of Jeffco's digital tools, are extensions that alter how the Chrome browser works.
The Power Up Pear Deck extension can also be added to increase the functionality of Pear Deck Slides. This extension ensures that videos, animations, and GIFs embedded in your Pear Deck slides play at full resolution.
Jeffco Ed Tech's Extensions Webpage
What's an Android App?
Android Apps are new in Jeffco and are available on TechforEd 5th and 9th grade Chromebooks; they can be installed through the Google Play Store. Android Apps were built for mobile, touch-screen devices and are similar to iPad apps. Although many of the Android apps also exist on the web (or as Chrome apps) the functionality between both versions may be different. For example, the Google Classroom Android app contains an annotation feature not available on the Chrome App (web) version of Google Classroom.
All apps available in the Jeffco Android App store are free to download and have been vetted for student privacy and security. You may request Jeffco add additional Android Apps through the standard district-vetting process.
There is currently an Android App for several Jeffco digital tools: Soundtrap, WeVideo, Schoology and many of the G Suite for Education tools.
*Currently the Seesaw Android app does not function on student Chromebooks
Jeffco Ed Tech Android Apps Webpage
Do These tools need to be approved?
All Chrome Apps, Extensions, Add-ons and Android Apps used in the classroom should be vetted for student privacy and security. You can find out which have been approved thus far by searching Jeffco's Digital Tools website! To request that additional tools be vetted and added to the site, please complete the district's vetting process. District tool vetting occurs twice a year, during summer and winter break. If you would like to submit tools for second semester, be sure to submit them for vetting by December 1st.
Jeffco loves Seesaw! Teachers, students and parents across the district are using Seesaw as a digital workflow in their classrooms. What is app smashing and how can that improve the student experience when using Seesaw?
The term “app smashing” was coined by former history teacher and current edtech guru, Greg Kulowiec.
Back in 2013, he defined app smashing as “the process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project.”
These apps could range from the most basic, like the ones that come built-in on your iPad or Chromebook (think the camera app), to the latest and greatest edtech apps in formative assessment, video-editing and so on.
By using multiple apps, not only will you become an edtech legend, but you’ll also create wildly engaging lessons and projects for your students, sparking engagement and keeping your parents and admins happy and singing your
Google Draw & Other G-Suite Tools
Students and teachers can create in Google Draw and then upload the link to Seesaw to share with their peers and their parents. You can also have students record a voice or caption. You can control the file type. Download as a JPEG and then upload into Seesaw.
There are multiple ways to add a file to Seesaw from the G-Suite tools. The tools in the G-Suite smash well with Seesaw!
Making Flash Cards with Flippity
Flippity is an add-on, not an app. You need to open a Google Sheet, click on "Add-Ons" and then "Get Add-ons" and choose Flippity from the G-Suite Marketplace. Fippity turns information from a Google Sheet into Flashcards. You can make interactive flashcards around vocabulary.