First and foremost, the Jeffco Ed Tech team would like to send out a huge thank you to all staff who have participated in or supported remote learning.
We have seen so many risks taken by teachers and students.
It is an unprecedented, but also exciting time to be in education!
In an effort to keep the communication coming to you from the central office streamlined and as clear as possible our blog will take a brief hiatus following today's post.
We are using this post as a way to share our remote learning resources and preferred method of communication and support.
Remote Learning Support Links
This document contains online resources to support Jeffco educators during remote virtual learning. This document will continue to be add to and updated throughout this time.
Ed Tech Google Meet
Ed Tech is hosting open office hours via the Google Meet link above Tuesday - Friday from 7:30 am - 4:00 pm. Drop in with questions or support. Meet is a great space for support because an Ed Tech specialist can see your screen which gives us visibility into your needs.
Schoology Group Codes
The preferred method of contact, outside of the office hours, is Jeffco Schoology.
The Schoology platform is monitored during business hours and often into the evening. Utilizing Schoology to ask questions, rather than email, casts a much wider net.
Many other staff members may have your same question and by posting in Schoology, more people have access to those answers.
In addition, Schoology is a great platform for sharing instructional ideas.
During remote learning, many teachers are looking for innovative ideas for scheduling, grouping students, using tech tools, and deeper learning instructional models. Sharing of ideas and resources supports our entire system and reaches more students!
Classroom management is a challenging area of teaching for new and more veteran teachers alike. Student seating, expectations for behavior, and routines for the classroom are something every teacher considers before the start of school each year. Now that Chromebooks and iPads are becoming a normal piece of most classrooms; have you stopped to think about how technology, specifically, figures into your classroom management plan? “Classrooms once featuring paper, pencils, and textbooks as the main teaching resources have evolved into spaces where each student can hold a device in his hands allowing him to download more information than a physical library can hold” (Dowd and Green). This has created an interesting challenge for teachers. Where do Chromebooks and iPads fit in to the classroom management landscape?
There are a few steps any classroom teacher can take to fold technology seamlessly into the classroom management of their room, whether they are new to the devices or they’ve been 1:1 for years.
1. Teach your procedures!
Every August (and probably the beginning of every term!), you review how to do common tasks in your classroom.
Whether it’s about coming to class prepared, your bathroom policy, late work, sharpening pencils, or anything else that requires repeated, explicit instruction. Device procedures are no different.
What are devices doing during the first few minutes of your class? In some classrooms, warm-ups are completed online. In others, Chromebooks stay under desks until the teacher says otherwise. Where do you stand?
Some procedures to consider teaching with devices next term:
2. Think about expectations and norms
What happens when a student forgets to charge their device or leaves their Chromebook at home? This might be a larger conversation to be had with your grade level or your school as a whole; but it is definitely something that WILL happen and should be planned for.
By having shared expectations, students will understand that the rules are the rules in EVERY room and won’t need to guess what is expected of them in each class. Also, consider how the students will learn this information. A device “boot camp” for all students to complete before using their device is a great way to ensure students have had exposure to the expectations.
Expectations to discuss at your school or with your team:
3. how will devices will be utilized during lessons?
It can be overwhelming to consider how much teaching has changed over the past 5 years. The majority of teachers in the classroom today were not trained in college about how to integrate technology into their lesson plans. However, as TechforEd devices roll up through the grade levels, tech rich lesson expectations are only going to increase!
A helpful way to think about updating or changing your current lessons to accommodate technology is to consult the SAMR model.
Need a refresher on SAMR?
Here’s a quick video on Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition.
No one is expected to spend all their time in the Redefinition area. Sometimes Substitution makes the most sense! But for deeper learning, Substitution cannot be the ONLY way of bringing technology into your lessons.
Technology can be a powerful tool to engage your students in the content of your course.
But don't throw out what you already know about best practices in lesson planning! The essence of a lesson can get lost when we plan for the tool before the standards.
Begin with outcomes! For instance, if you are teaching a lesson on dialogue in your ELA classroom, perhaps a WeVideo or Soundtrap would be good digital tools so that you can hear/see their work in action!
Consider your content and the thinking you’re asking from your students, then choose the tool that makes the most sense.
With intentional and proactive planning, technology in the classroom need not be a classroom management nightmare!
Need more guidance or have questions not covered here? Contact your Ed Tech Specialist!
Additional Resources: Classroom Management in the Digital Age by Heather Dowd and Patrick Green
Book Creator is one of the 8 district purchased tools and a great way for students and teachers to get creative in crafting digital books.
In Book Creator you can combine text, images, audio and video to create:
Recently, Book Creator added numerous accessibility improvements in their latest update. A few of their updates are:
Add Captions to video and Transcripts to Audio
Now you are able to auto-generate captions for videos that you add to Book Creator. Generate the captions and then manually edit them as needed. When recording audio, you can now add transcripts to your recording. Book Creator developed speech-to-text functionality in November 2017, but now they’ve supercharged it so you can dictate your text in 120 different languages.
Directions: Add Captions to Video
Directions: Generate a Transcript
Directions: Use Your Voice to Type the Words
Navigate using the Keyboard
These new features support those with vision impairments. Some people with hand tremors find using a mouse very difficult and therefore usually use a keyboard. Keyboard navigation can help those who have difficulty with the hand-eye coordination required for using a mouse, and also supports those who may struggle locating the pointer on a screen.
Improved Color Contrast
Updates have been made to make the screen easier to read. Fonts and images have been updated.
Read to Me Function
Read to me is a great feature that allows students to have books that are shared with them. Not only is the book read to them, but students can change the settings to have the speech rate changed, the page displayed changed, and have the book read in different voices and language.
For more information: intercom.help/bookcreator/en/articles/2398649-read-to-me-in-book-creator
What does this Mean for Education?
Equality. Inclusion. Differentiation. These are important considerations as technology becomes more and more prevalent in education, and we want to remain right at the forefront of accessibility in education. ~Dan Kemp, Book Creator Tools for School’s Marketing & Community Manager
Along with the added accessibility features, book creator has some other great features that add some amazing functionality to your books. A few of these features are autodraw, app smash, embed media, and insert audio to name a few.
Let us know what amazing things you've been doing with Book Creator to enhance creativity and provide accessibility for all students!
Ed Tech Resources
Best Practices with school-based YouTube accounts
School administrators are now able to request a school-based YouTube account (firstname.lastname@example.org). Administrators may request the creation of a school-based YouTube account by submitting a work ticket in ESS. Having a school-based YouTube account allows the school’s video content to live with the school, rather than on an individual staff member’s YouTube channel. For security purposes, these accounts cannot be used to log into any other applications other than YouTube. For more information on school-based YouTube channels, please see this best practices document.
Trouble Viewing YouTube Videos in Jeffco?
YouTube uses a safe-search filter, separate from our network filter, to keep our students from viewing inappropriate content. This can cause issues when users outside of our domain (guests and parents) try to watch videos while on our Jeffco Community network. If you are on our network, but not logged into our domain (@jeffcoschools.us account), videos not approved by Jeffco AND Google will not play. These same videos would play, without issue, at home where YouTube is not restricted. The best way to ensure that your videos will play for all users, on all networks, is to upload them from Drive, rather than link them from YouTube. For more support on this issue, please see this support document.
Google Classroom ORIGINALITY Reports & Rubrics
Originality reports and rubrics are are two newly available Google Classroom tools. Originality reports support instructors in detecting plagiarism in student work. Students can use the reports to check their work for citation accuracy and for poor paraphrasing before they submit their assignment. This allows students the opportunity to improve their work based on the feedback provided by the originality report. Google allows teachers to activate originality reports on 3 assignments per classroom.
The rubric feature creates opportunities for students to set expectations, provide feedback and evaluate student work. Educators might consider using rubrics for complex assignments that require multiple steps and/or criteria. You can attach a rubric to an assignment a way for students to reference when understanding their grades.
Read & Write for Google in Shared Drives
In becoming better acquainted with our new digital tools this year, we have discovered that PDFs stored in Shared Drives are not compatible with Read and Write PDF Reader. This is because Read and Write is tied to an individual user's account, and when files are moved into a Shared Drive, they are no longer associated with individual users. If you need to use Read and Write's features on a PDF in a shared drive, the best option is to make a copy and then move the PDF to your individual drive. Please see this help article for additional support.
It's been a while since we've had information about Schoology shared out so here are a few quick items to help you stay up-to-date.
In case you haven't heard, back in late 2019 PowerSchool purchased Schoology. What does this mean for current Schoology users? Nothing is changing, and we will see enhanced features and options in the future according to our Schoology connections. We will keep you updated as new features become available. If you want to read more about the acquisition, click here.
Assessment season is right around the corner and many teachers and students are working on preparing to share their amazing learning and knowledge. Did you know Schoology can serve as a robust platform for digital assessments providing practice opportunities for students of all ages? Schoology Tests/Quizzes have a wide variety of options for teachers to create customized assessments in a variety of ways.
A few of the customization features for teachers include:
For more information on how to use Schoology assessment features, you can visit the Schoology Help Center. Check out the Course Materials resources or more specifically resources for Tests/Quizzes to get started.
for Jeffco Chromebooks
Schoology has a Kiosk available for students on any Jeffco owned Chromebook. The Schoology Kiosk allows students to enter Schoology and work only in Schoology on their Chromebook without having access to any external content such as a web browser. The Schoology Kiosk can be a useful tool for teachers to provide students learning and assessment experiences in a more controlled environment. To learn more about using the Schoology Kiosk on district-owned Chromebooks, take a look at the Schoology Kiosk Google Doc. There is also a link included on the document for access to a quick video demonstration.
Course Deletion Issue
Jeffco Schoology is set up to automatically create courses for every teacher coinciding with their class rosters in Infinite Campus. Teachers will see their classes auto-populating the Course Section of their Schoology account. It is asked that teachers DO NOT DELETE these auto-created courses in Schoology. When a teacher deletes an auto-created course, it creates a backlog of Schoology sync issues and also causes students issues with seeing current or future courses they are auto-enrolled in. Once an auto-created course is deleted by a teacher, it cannot be reinstated. It is asked that if teachers aren't using those courses, or they don't want them interfering with current courses, they move them to the bottom of their course list. This can easily be done in the My Course section of Schoology by dragging courses in the order of desired preference. Teachers can delete any courses they have created at anytime without issue, this only applies to the auto-created courses within Schoology. If you have questions or would like further support, please reach out to either Nick Steinmetz or Lisa Summit in the Jeffco Educational Technology Department.
More Schoology updates, new features, and opportunities for learning will be coming in the next few months. If you have questions about Schoology you can contact the above supports at anytime or reach out to your Jeffco Ed Tech Specialist.
Nearly any content area unit at any grade level involves learning important academic vocabulary to help students understand and articulate their knowledge in a manner that shows their newfound comprehension. Vocabulary comprehension is a critical skill when it comes to demonstrating understanding on the CMAS assessment, as well. Students are not able to comprehend vocabulary without picturing, and technology is able to engage support students in that task.
Pear Deck’s Flashcard Factory is a little-known feature that helps engage students in this work in a new, game-based way! Pear Deck explains, “In the Flashcard Factory, students work together to create the best example sentences and illustrations for your vocabulary terms. At the end of the game, you can review and choose the final flashcard set as a group. Finally, print the final set or export it to Gimkit for free. Students can play review games with their cards at home, and all of the fun examples they created will help them remember and better understand the terms.”
Getting started with Flashcard factory
Step 1 - Create a vocabulary list
Go to peardeck.com and log in as a teacher (use your jeffcoschools.us email address!) to open your Pear Deck Home. Please note: You must use a Google account to play the Flashcard Factory game at this time! When you reach Pear Deck Home, click Start a Vocab List:
Step Two: Add Vocabulary Terms to your List
Teachers can find a Vocabulary List by Subject, paste in their own list, or type in terms. Merriam-Webster is on call to help you fill in definitions as you go. You get to choose whether or not to provide students a definition. Learn more about creating a list.
Step Three: Play the Flashcard Factory Game
When you're ready to begin, click the blue Play Flashcard Factory button (see the image above). Pear Deck displays instructions on your screen (the Projector View) telling students how to join the game. Just like they enter a Slides Session, students need to go to joinpd.com, log in with their Google Account, then enter the code to join.
Students' names will appear on the teacher’s screen as they join. Students are automatically assigned a partner to create example sentences and illustrations for the new terms during the game. Once they have joined the session, teachers will click Clock in to enter the Production Phase. Students can then start creating their cards. As a class, students can review the cards on the Projector View and choose the best examples to be included in the final Flashcard Set. Learn more about how the game is played.
Step Four: Choose the final Flashcard Set
When you are ready for students to stop working in the Production Phase, and you want to decide which cards to send to the final set, go to Quality Control.
In Quality Control, you can approve cards for the final set (or dismiss them). The students can get in on the fun here as well!
After completing the Quality Control phase, click on the Shipping Phase button.
Step Five: Export, Print, and Review
In the Shipping Phase, click on Print or Export Set.
A new window opens. Click on Print Flashcard Set or Export to Gimkit.
If you choose Print, the Print menu opens. If a Flashcard does not have a definition, example, or image, we provide space for students to fill in their own copy or image after printing.
You can also play fun study games on products like Gimkit!
We hope you find a way to utilize this secret gem of a game/instructional tool soon!
As always, if you have questions, please contact your EdTech Specialist to get started.
One of the digital tools purchased for all teachers and students this year is Discovery Education. You may remember this tool for its amazing video collection, but it is so much more. Discovery Education (DE) contains standard-aligned, digital curriculum resources for staff and students.
With the easy interactive search features, teachers have the choice of searching for content by Trends, by Subject, and by Colorado Academic State Standards.
One of the most surprising resources in DE are the Professional Development teacher resource tabs. Teachers can join DE’s lesson sharing and social network in the Educator Network and Professional Learning tabs. Teachers share lesson ideas, find instructional strategies, located Discovery Ed learning opportunities around the country, and ways to become a DEN Ambassador. The Instructional Strategies tab offers cross content teaching strategies.
The last section is the heart of creation and workflow. Teachers can create Studio Boards, “favorite” videos & channels, and much more under the My Content tab. This is a place where everyone in the same school can also share resources; both teacher or student created material. Studio is really where content creation lives. Teachers can create Studio Boards to share with students much like a multimedia text set or a traditional poster board (see Studio features image). Students also have Studio. They can create their own content and then share it back to their teacher through the Classroom feature. DE has workflow built right into the program.
So far this school year, students have created over 2,000 Studio boards. Students are typically creating science and social studies boards to demonstrate their learning and share with others in their class. The sample below is a middle school student’s board.
Your EdTech specialist is excited to share more about this amazing tool.
Every day, we see students struggle with how to
mindfully manage the potential and power of their digital devices.
With our TechforEd initiative, and other 1:1 school programs, it’s become obvious that students need time to examine the consequences of their online activity. Here are some reasons why educators should take the lead in promoting digital citizenship curriculum inside their classroom and some helpful resources for how to implement.
The number one concern we hear from teachers across our district is related to inappropriate use of technology by students in the classroom. With our TechforEd initiative, we knew we would need to provide instruction and guidance for staff and students around this topic. Jeffco’s Digital Citizenship scope and sequence and associated supports are built on Common Sense Media’s research based curriculum. This school year, resources are released monthly to schools and include lessons, activities, reading materials and family communication. If you are new to Digital Citizenship, these free resources are a great way to engage your students.
2. Incessant multitasking
If we want students to thrive in the digital world, they must be taught and have time to practice sustained attention. This is not a new practice, but urgent in the current environment. In the classroom, we can (and should) offer students incentives to engage in undistracted learning on their devices.
1. Time their engagement
ex: if students are on task for __ minutes, they get 2 minutes of YouTube
2. Create more engaging digital tasks.
ex: Create slideshows in Pear Deck, allowing for digital interaction with the content
3. Give students choice in how they show they learning.
ex: a typed essay, a Google site, a WeVideo, a podcast using Soundtrap, a digital poster using Google Drawings or Boardbuilder in Discovery Education
Educators tend to have two major assumptions. First, we assume that as digital natives, there is no need for teaching students how to use technology. Second, technology comes in many forms and we tend to lump it all together. In reality, the quality of the tools and devices matters. Remember creation vs. consumption. Engaging with an educational app (like Book Creator) for one hour per day is far more valuable than something that provides entertainment.
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!
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?
This is a snapshot from the Unit 1 book. It has a link to a Geogebra activity and an example video about Coterminal Angles.
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.
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.
Digital Teacher Librarian
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