"Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results." ~John Dewey.
Digital discussions have become regular practices in our everyday lives. From text messages and social media posts to blog and YouTube comment streams there are continued learning and sharing opportunities with global connections on a regular basis. Many of us are often hyper-active in daily digital discussions as we connect with friends, family, and world-wide audiences.
As we continue to implement the Jeffco Generations skills and Transform Tasks, digital dialogue and discussion opportunities present engaging opportunities to authentically develop skills and concepts beyond the basic acquisition of facts. Through participation in digital discussions with global audiences we are exposed to the challenges of content application, concept justification, and social understandings in our ever changing world.
The New York Times provides a number of incredible resources to educators and students for elevating digital discussion opportunities that engage learners in relevant and meaningful topics. Through The Learning Network, they began in 2014 with 200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing which grew to 650 Prompts for Argumentative Writing in 2016 and is now over 1000 Writing Prompts for Students in 2018. The prompts are broken up by topic areas such as Social Media and Smartphones, Gender Issues, Dating and Sex, Music, Literature and Art, Being a Teenager, School, Health and Nutrition, Science and Animals, Government and Leadership, Personal Character and Morality, and more. Under each topic is a list of questions that are linked to a short articles followed by more specific questions for students to consider and answer. The list of 650 prompts are also available via a handy PDF for easy access and sharing.
So how does this apply to our daily instruction as educators? Francis Bacon said, "Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man". Reading, writing and discussion are a critical components of our everyday learning and growth processes. As educators we know high quality instruction in any content area or discipline contains regular opportunities for learners to engage in reading, writing, and discussion to further develop critical and creative thinking skills.
Using the resources above, learners can be given a prompt and the associated article to read. Following the reading, learners can engage in a short writing activity to gather thoughts and develop ideas. Learners can then share their thoughts with others and ideas to seek feedback for further development and discussion. Some ideas might include:
Reading, writing and dialogue can and should take place in all disciplines, not just literacy. For example, math teachers can leverage prompts like #327 which centers around a distribution graph of how many A's schools hand out or #289 "Are You Afraid of Math?" and #290 "Do We Need A Better Way To Teach Math?". Science teachers can leverage the wide variety of prompts in Science & Health (1,066-1,146) involving Science and The Environment, Animals and Pets, or Exercise and Health. Art teachers have a vast array to choose from in Arts and Entertainment (75-248). Whichever discipline you teach, there can be resources for you to leverage to support students with engaging in reading, writing, and dialogue.
How will you leverage digital discussions as a way to Transform the Task and support learners with developing the Jeffco Generations skills? The Jeffco Ed Tech team is available to support you in thinking through ways you can leverage reading, writing and discussion with students in your instruction. We would also love to hear from you around how you are already leveraging digital discussions or have done so in the past. We learn a great deal from examples and experience so we invite you to share with us as we continue to grow together.
The Jeffco Ed Tech team is excited to announce our Fall 2018 online book studies.
K-2 can, too! Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. They love to explore and play; in fact, that’s how they learn! The Google Apps for Littles book study will provide educators with ideas on how to get students playing and exploring using the G Suite. Empower your littles and shift your thinking to believe that even the youngest kids can do more with technology!
Interested in learning more about our Jeffco Ed Tech book studies? Want to register? Looking for more professional learning opportunities from our team? Click on the image below for details.
We hope to learn alongside of you this Fall!
August 9th Learning Day
Due to the overwhelming success of this event, we want to make sure that all educators have access to the learning. Attached is a document with the course descriptions and linked presentations!
A huge thank you goes out to Golden High School for hosting our event, as well as events for several other departments in the district. We are very thankful to all of the schools who partner with us throughout the year to help us deliver learning to so many educators!
This year we are excited to share that we have 2 new members joining our Ed Tech team!
Jamie joins the team as a former Jeffco Instructional Coach with a passion for technology. She’s returning to work after taking a year off to spend time with her family. Jamie will serve as a point-of-contact for most of our middle schools this year.
Nick joins us from Aurora Public Schools where he worked in a similar role as Ed Tech and Personalized Learning support for a wide range of schools in the district. We are excited to tap into his great wealth of knowledge and expertise. Nick will serve as a point-of-contact for most of our high schools this year.
A new year also comes with some exciting new transitions for our amazing teammates.
We wish Karrie continued success as she transitions from an Ed Tech Specialist position to a Digital Teacher Librarian position at Deer Creek Middle School. We will certainly miss her many talents on our team and feel fortunate that she will continue to make a difference for the Deer Creek community.
Amanda has accepted a position as a Digital Literacy and Instructional Coach at Thunder Vista P-8 in Adams 12. She spent countless evenings and her summer break working hard to open this brand new school. We wish her the very best in her exciting new adventure!
Rather than support a sub-set of our schools (as she’s done for the past few years), Marnie will be charged with developing a strategic vision for Computer Sciences working in close partnership with schools, central departments, communities, CDE and vendors in shaping this exciting work.
We are excited to welcome Julie back from maternity leave. As an Ed Tech Specialist, she will continue as a point-of-contact for a subset of our elementary schools this year.
Amie will move from a Title I-funded position to one that supports all of Jeffco. She will serve as a point-of-contact for a subset of our elementary schools this year.
Rounding out the Ed Tech team are continuing team members:
"Make something that does a thing." This was the challenge put out to 10th grade students at Golden High School by their teacher, Mr. Gitner. Students were engaged in a very broad PBL. The sky was the limit. Their task was simply to create something that does something.
Gitner said of the task, "If I do not explicitly name a tool for them, at the end they create something that they feel is important. It ended up being a passion project where I just became the coach." The students went out and decided what they wanted to learn and found the right tool for the job. “What you know isn't what is important anymore, it's what you can do," says Gitner. At the very heart of this task was the foundation of student choice.
The results from the students was phenomenal. One student got her artwork on a brochure that fights to end violence against women. Another student created a mockumentary. This student learned a valuable work-life lesson. He says of the leadership within the project,
“What I really learned is how difficult it is get people together without intrinsic motivation. Bringing people together and giving them a task is not enough. It takes true leadership to engage others." This is the essence of The Jeffco Generations skill, Collaboration and Leading by Influence.
Last year, Gitner created a task called "Walk in Someone Else's Shoes". He had students create Trello Boards. A Trello board is a list of lists, filled with cards, used by you and your class. It's a lot more than that, though .Trello has everything you need to organize projects of any size. Open a card and you can add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels and due dates, and more. Here is a video Andrew made for his students. You can also access his example of a Trello Board here. You can find this lesson on the Bridge to Curriculum in the Teacher Resource Library.
Andrew started his school year by reading Bold School this summer. This book was written by Jeffco parent, Weston Kieschnick .
This book overlays SAMR with Rigor and Relevance. Andrew says he creates experiences for students that span the SAMR model, but spends a fair amount of time creating experiences for students that asks them to Augment. "Students can't always be in Modification. Student experiences should span the range of the SAMR model." The Jeffco Ed Tech Team will be hosting a Bold School Book Study in the Fall. More information coming soon!
So what is next for Gitner's 10th graders? A phone scavenger hunt at the Clyfford Still museum. Students will use their phones to complete tasks around the museum.
It's time to engage your Tweeting skills as we kick off the school year with the first Ed Tech Twitter challenge of 2018! So, grab your coworkers and challenge yourself to get connected and grow your Professional Learning Network!
Here's your Challenge... Should You Choose to Accept it.
Beginning August 15th (the first day of school), log into Twitter each day and complete the following activities, using #JeffcoChat in each of your Tweets. You may also choose to include #JeffcoGenerations or mention us (@JeffcoEdTech), as well.
Jeffco educators who complete all 8 challenges can be entered to win a 3 month premium Pear Deck subscription! Visit this Google Form by midnight on August 27th and upload a screenshot of each of your Tweets! We will draw the winner on the 28th.
Need Help getting STarted?
Last year, we hosted 2 different Twitter challenges to teach educators how to start using Twitter to build their professional learning networks. So, if you are new to Twitter, check out the resources below, before you get started.