On Saturday, November 21st, the first day of Thanksgiving break, 200 Jeffco educators came together, without pay, to learn how to better provide digital and hybrid learning. Why? They were looking for the electric feeling of hope and possibility that the EdTechTeam Summits provide. The Becoming: Moving from Surviving to Thriving event focused on online teaching, blended teaching, coaching, leadership and more. Educators spent time learning about lesson design, synchronous and asynchronous content delivery, assessment, engagement, communication and best practices in using digital tools. Jennifer Snyder (Secrest ES) said it was a great jumpstart to inspire teachers and get them out of the survival rut.
One of the most useful and exciting things about the summit was building confidence with Jeffco-purchased tools such as Pear Deck, Google Classroom, Jamboard, Seesaw and more! Teachers also received hands-on resources they were able to immediately use in their classrooms. Karrie Dallman (Arvada West HS) was excited to walk away with some great ideas to make her class more interactive and to keep her students more engaged.
Above all, the Summit reminds of us of our why -- the students. "It's about what we can do to provide as engaging and successful a learning experience as possible for them," says Dodie Sale (Meiklejohn ES).
What do you know?
We asked our Jeffco teachers to share their biggest takeaways from the Summit:
Keeping the Learning Going
For those that didn't have the opportunity to attend the live sessions, videos of the recorded sessions are available to watch, thanks to our subscription to the EdTechTeam online learning catalog, which is available through May 2021.
Course material included in the Jeffco subscription:
Jeffco staff members will need to create their own individual account in order to access the courses. Use your @jeffcoschools.us account and your Jeffco password when creating your EdTechTeam PD account. Please see the videos on the site for support in creating your account and signing up for courses.
Each course is FREE and requires 15-hours of learning and creation. Your work will be evaluated and graded by a member of EdTechTeam Inc. Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that can be submitted to CDE for recertification. Additionally, you may apply for graduate credit through Adams State at an additional cost ($155/credit). See specific courses for additional details.
*The ability for Jeffco to send educators to attend the summit for free is a result of a Google promotion we receive by purchasing Chrome devices for our district-wide TechforEd initiative.
No doubt you have grown familiar with the concept of screencasting: Creating a recording of your screen or face (or both!) for demonstration and communication purposes. Below is a quick list of best practices and considerations for creating engaging videos for your students, staff or the community! While Screencastify is the premium screencasting tool for Jeffco Public Schools, the hints below are useful even if you’re using another application or web tool!
Self care for educators is more important than ever. There is more demand on teachers than ever before during this unprecedented pandemic. Practicing self- care can be challenging, but it is necessary. Take a few minutes to hear what 2020 Teachers of the Year say about practicing self care. Take a tech break and enjoy one of our suggestions, whether you want to stay in the house or venture out over winter break.
cozy-up with a New book
The great outdoors
Apps provided by Kaiser
A few favorite resources
fresh Ideas for the new Year
I think we could all agree that our jobs over the past year have changed a lot. Just like everything in 2020, education has changed in many ways. As we packed up last March to what we figured would be a few weeks going remote, it turned into over two months of remote learning. That led us all to start thinking differently about how we do our jobs. When August came around, we were all hoping for some sense of normalcy, but that quickly changed to starting the year remotely--then some switching to hybrid while others came back full time. Now we are all back again in the remote world with, thankfully, more online learning experience. Yet many of us feel that we can’t catch up or do our job effectively--especially our Digital Teacher Librarians.
A Digital Teacher Librarian’s job is constantly changing. Sometimes, things change weekly, daily, hourly, and even minute by minute. A DTL’s job is rarely the same day to day, and they are often pulled in many different directions. This year has allowed them once again to reinvent their positions. There are many examples all across the district of ways DTLs are adapting, pivoting, and finding ways to do their jobs to help students, teachers, and parents succeed in this new normal.
Most DTLs spend some of their time working on the technology in the buildings. This may consist of making sure projectors are projecting, doc cameras are working, that devices are distributed, and students are successfully engaging with technology. This has now become a major part of the DTL’s job. Linda Tatalaski, DTL at Creighton Middle School, has actually gone to families’ homes to help troubleshoot a Chromebook to make sure it functions properly. Tobye Ertelt, DTL at Oberon Middle School, used to have the help of her student tech crew, but since we had to go remote that left more of the responsibility on her. In response, she created a Technology Guide. This guide helps families troubleshoot and fix their own tech issues. Angie Wagner, DTL at Bear Creek High School, spends some of her day arranging device repair via curbside as well as providing office hours for students and teachers. I am sure that none of these DTLs thought their job would involve so much tech troubleshooting.
Another way the job of a DTL has changed is how we are checking out books. Remember when you used to be able to just walk into a library, check out a book, and take it home? Now this process looks very different. Libraries across the district had to figure out a way to get books into kids’ hands safely without them ever stepping into the library. One big change this year is students must put books on hold in order to check them out. This is an easy process but does require some instruction from the DTL. Some teachers have assigned this as homework or have set up “Library Time” in their classroom to simulate actually going to the library. Once the book is on hold, it requires someone from the library staff to pull the books and check them out. Finally, the DTL has to creatively figure out a way to safely deliver the books. Heidi O’Leary, DTL at Bradford North, is using grab and go book stations. These books are from different subjects and genres. Heidi said that the best part is when a student requests a book and she actually can find it either at the Bradford Library or the Jeffco Public Library and is able to get the book into the students’ hands!
Finally, one of a DTL’s most important jobs is to collaborate with teachers on lessons. They provide resources as well as support students and their learning. This is challenging in a remote world, but DTLs once again are finding ways to get it done. One resource many are creating is a Bitmoji library space. These are fun and engaging for students as well as providing online resources. Andrea Gilmore, DTL at South Lakewood Elementary, created South Lakewood’s Virtual Library that includes virtual books, book talks as well as Hour of Code activities. Oberon Middle School has also created Oberon Middle School Virtual Libratory that links to the Jeffco Public Library as well as links to Oberon’s library resources. Elizabeth Mehmen, DTL at the Bergens, has created Picture Book Nominees for the CCBA Books for students to become familiar with these award winning books, and to vote for their favorite.
This has been a year to “pivot” at a moment’s notice and to find new ways to keep the library engaging for ALL students. DTLs are constantly reinventing their jobs and spaces to best meet the needs of their students, teachers, and communities. As we wind down 2020 and can see 2021 on the horizon, we can only wonder what new exciting practices will we see next!
December 7th - 13th
It' s that time of year again! Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field.
There are lots of ways to implement this with your students including participating in Hour of Code from Code.org, a virtual family event at mindSpark Learning, Code Bytes, as well as events and activities from Code HS and PopFizz.
Explore endless computer science topics with brand-new tutorials
This year’s activities dive into tons of different CS topics like AI, data processing, and app & game design, as well as programming concepts like events, loops, and variables! Students can explore the oceans with SciGirls, learn to code and meditate with CodeSpeak Labs, build a climate clock with Vidcode, or try out another of the 30+ new #CSforGood themed activities and lesson plans! See them all at hourofcode.com/learn.
No computer? No problem. Unplugged resources for students Every student deserves to learn computer science regardless of what technology they have at home. A number of engaging new unplugged options from our partners at Google, Kodable, iRobot, and elsewhere are available to learners with low or no connectivity or limited device access. We’ve also created a printable Hour of Code Unplugged Activity Packet for ages 4-18.
From mindSpark Learning:
Virtual Family Coding Event at mindSpark
Tuesday, Dec. 8th
Invite students, parents, and educators to join the event here!
Introducing CodeBytes with Hadi Partovi...
Planning for the Hour of Code with your classroom that’s gone virtual? Try a CodeByte! Designed to fit smoothly into a distance learning plan, CodeBytes are easy-to-digest, 20 minute interactive lessons that will
stream during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-11. Every episode features a new lesson that blends computer science with real-world topics. One day, students will use Dance Party to get creative and express themselves. Another day, they’ll explore environmental sustainability with Artificial Intelligence.
Tune-in (Join on Zoom or stream on YouTube) Plus, you have two chances to catch each lesson live! Episodes take place twice daily at 9:00a and 2:30pm. Check out their episode schedule to find a time that works for you.
From Tynker and NASA:
Explore NASA’s exciting new efforts to reach the Moon and then Mars. Students can design their own animated mission patch, imagine their life as an Artemis astronaut on the Lunar Gateway, take control of robotic rovers, and even create their own lunar habitat. A collection of space-exploration themed coding tutorials created in collaboration with NASA! Students can tap into their artistic side in "Design a Mission Patch," get creative in "Tell Your Lunar Gateway Story," take control of robots in "Rover Relay," and imagine their home in space in "Design A Lunar Habitat."
From Code HS:
Live Hour of Code Workshops hosted by CodeHSRegister your class for a live Hour of Code workshop hosted by the CodeHS Team! Whether your class is remote or in-person, these workshops are a great way to get students excited about computer science.
Coding for a Litter-Free Community
Monday, 12/7 @ 10am
Coding for Data Visualization
Tuesday, 12/8 @ 12pm
Coding in Music
Wednesday, 12/9 @ 9:30am
Supporting Artists with Code
Wednesday, 12/9 @ 11am
Turtle Graphics with Tracy the Turtle
Thursday, 12/10 @ 9am
Creating Virtual Worlds
Friday, 12/11 @ 11am
Hour of Code: Retro Py Game
Designed for grades 9-12.
Join us to create your own retro game using Python and share it with your friends and family! This 1-hour project introduces students to some of the advanced programming concepts such as events, functions, and classes. → Register Now
Need some PD hours? Try Scratch's 30 Day Teacher Challenge! This Teachers Challenge starts on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020! Earn 8 hours of PD while learning how to code and build games in Scratch. The cost is $19.99 for this online course and to earn 8 CEU's.
Or try this 5-hour self-paced online course from Code.org.
Enroll through ESS. Teaching CS Fundamentals K-5 is intended as an introduction to Computer Science Fundamentals and the Code.org K-5 resources for elementary teachers. Through reading, viewing videos, completing interactive puzzles and reflecting on your learning, you'll develop your own understanding while preparing to teach computer science in your classroom. No previous experience with coding or computer science education is assumed. This is a beginner's course.
Register in ESS: CSFUND Session 0002 (through December, Session 3 coming in January) Clock Hours: 5
Whether our students are working remotely, hybrid, or in-person collaboration is a key element to students being successful. Collaboration allows students to share ideas, fosters authentic learning, and allows for peer interaction and feedback. As we move into being fully remote, students need collaboration more then ever.
Considerations when Collaborating remotely
Virtual Small Groups
Digital Tools that promote student collaboration
While there are numerous digital tools that support collaboration while working remotely, a few of our district supported tools are perfect for allowing students to work together and share ideas.
Book Creator Login
Adobe Spark Login
Collaborating using Google
G Suite Apps are collaborative, which makes them highly powerful. They offer opportunities for students to engage in so many different ways. Here are 30 ideas for using them with your class.
Using Book Creator to Collaborate
Wevideo as a collaboration tool
Recently, WeVideo added a new collaboration feature. Now students can collaborate on projects in real-time.
WeVideo’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad, said, “Real-time collaboration is a core part of every career field and subject discipline. The same holds true for the classroom. More than ever, learning should be part of a social context, as learners collectively rely on each other’s thinking to solve complex problems and create. No matter what subject or concept we teach, collaboration is a crucial component of blended learning.”
Collaborating using Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is one of the newer tools that we support. Adobe Spark is an integrated suite of media creation applications for mobile and web developed by Adobe Systems. It comprises three separate design apps: Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video. While real time collaboration isn't available yet, users can pass the project back and forth to create something together. Click here to learn more about how to collaborate in Spark.
While it isn't easy to make collaboration work in a remote environment, when it does work, students are creative, gaining valuable skills that prepare them for the future and teach students to overcome challenges and conflict.
Comment below on what you've used to get students collaborating during remote learning.
Looking to add a few digital power tools to enhance student learning? Try combining a productive tech tool with insightful feedback and amp up the learning curve (and the effect size! ) The essential message is that the most valuable feedback focuses on helping the students improve (Clarke and Hattie).
When learning, students must be able to answer three imperative questions. Where am I going?, How am I going there?, and Where will I go next? Then, if teachers can thoughtfully integrate a few engaging and proven tech tools, their concerted efforts will greatly empower students’ learning capacity and interest. Check out the " Digital Ideas to Fine-Tune Feedback" below.
Check for Understanding- Student to Teacher
Use Interactive Videos- Effect size .54
Goal Setting and Providing Comments
Clarke and Hattie. Visible Learning Feedback. 2018
Fisher, Frey, and Hattie. The Distance Learning Playbook, Grades K-12. 2020.
Hattie, John. “What Works Best?” 2020.
Gettyimages.com. Royalty Free image of Teen reading on her device. 2020.
Lieberman, Mark. “Discussion Boards: Valuable? Overused? Discuss.”2019.
TeachThought Staff. “How To Add Feedback To Student Writing On GoogleDocs”. March, 2019.
Last week, October 26 - 30, was Media Literacy Week across the nation. Students, teachers and community members engaged in learning related to the different aspects of Media Literacy including access, analysis, evaluation, creation and action. Even though Media Literacy might not be the most gripping topic, it is one that is embedded in our daily lives and has impacts that extend far beyond the classroom.
Fake News, Confirmation Bias, Woke-Washing, Deepfakes, News Satire, Clickbait, and more are terms and tactics new and old that fill our digital atmosphere. Additionally, the way people choose to get their information and interact with it changes on a daily basis. More than ever we need to be engaging students of all ages in the life skills of critical thinking, inquiry, questioning, along with responsible communication and collaboration.
What is Media Literacy?
Defined by NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Education), "Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication.” Our own Jeffco Generation skills exemplify the core aspects of Media Literacy through Self-Direction & Personal Responsibility, Communication, Critical & Creative Thinking, Collaboration & Leading by Influence and Agility & Adaptability.
Information Literacy, Media Literacy, Digital Literacy and a variety of other phrases are often used to reference these intertwined competencies. It is not a clear cut conversation that is limited to one content area, as the learning and application cross all areas of curriculum and frequently blur across lines of understanding.
Why is Media Literacy important?
Current events are a prime example of why media literacy is more important than ever before. Our students are our future as a nation and as global citizens. We need help to develop the skills necessary to be self aware and critical of the information being presented to them.
Linda Ellerbee, journalist and host of Nickelodeon’s Nick News with Linda Elerbee once stated, “Media Literacy is not just important, it is absolutely critical. It’s going to make the difference between whether kids are a tool of the mass media or whether the mass media is a tool for the kids to use.”
Making this relevant to learners:
Who needs to be a part of the Learning?
The answer to this question is we all do. Teachers, administrators, family members and our community need to engage students in rich conversations about the information around them. We need to model the practices we hope to see and build those relationships to engage in dialogue that allow for critical questioning and responsible action.
Promoting conversations between students and their families, is a great way to connect the learning community.
This article, "What is Media Literacy, and why is it important?" from Common Sense Media provides a structure and language to help families discuss media literacy at all ages.
What are some of the Resources available?
Media Literacy crosses all contents, Art, Music, Physical Education, Social Studies, Science, Language and everything in between. Thankfully, there are an ever increasing amount of resources to pull from and engage in this discussion. Often it is more a matter of ensuring that it is not forgotten but addressed. When a music teacher shares a resource they are sure to give credit to the composer, likewise for any other form of research. Now more than ever our students are creators and owners of their content. Understanding the basics of media, information or digital literacy should be at the core of their work.
Linked here is a small collection of Media Literacy resources for teachers of all levels to explore and connect with throughout the year. If you would like support as you think about engaging your students with Media Literacy please reach out to your school’s Digital Teacher Librarian. They would be a great asset in partnering to co-teach and collaborate!
If you have not had the chance to read Curriculum and Instruction's blog post on Jeffco's Distance Learning Playbook, check it out here!
Introducing Google Workspace
Once our contract is finalized, and IT has done their work on the back-end, we look forward to having Enterprise in the next week or two!
To prepare, here is a document that explains the feature differences between Education and Enterprise for Education.
new features available now
Translated Closed Captions inside of a Google Meet.
We all love Google Meet for its quick, CC, capabilities. Captions, in any language, help reinforce messages that might otherwise be lost. Now CC in Meet are even better!
CCs in a Meet can now be instantaneously translated into a student's native language.
This tool will support English Language Learners and can be used to better facilitate conversations between staff and families who speak a language other than English.