When I was asked to write a post for Jeffco Ed Tech blog, I was stymied. Education technology is a huge topic. It’s complicated, demonized, canonized, hotly debated, and full of strife & potential. Finally, after six or seven digital wads of paper, I’ve settled on discussing how I rolled out 1:web Chromebooks for my freshman classes this year. It’s timely, and I hope it proves helpful.
First of all, mad props to Pomona’s administration and our campus IT staff. It all starts there. Without a clear and shared vision of what technology will look like and a commitment to goals we set out to achieve by using it, the results would be confusing to everyone involved. Our tech gurus, Matt Daniels and Judy Sims, have been great at keeping our campus focused and practical about everything from how to track each device to which apps make the most sense for teachers to use. They are absolutely central to the success of the roll-out of over 700 (!) Chromebooks (and chargers and cords and screen protectors and id tags and Velcro strips and screen cleaner cloths and styluses and...et al) for our 9th & 10th grade Panthers. I shudder to think how absolutely chaotic this initiative could have turned out, and I’m so appreciative of their strong leadership from the beginning.
So that’s the Big Picture. As for incorporating this technology into our daily classroom environment, I am still a novice. I still ask the Annoying Question of the Day to Matt and Judy and have impractical requests that are met with “You really don’t want to do that, Clint”. “Why not?” And then he patiently explains the Why Not. I’m moving in the right direction, though, and zealously embracing the feel-good-It’s-OK cliche of our times: failing forward. A LOT. My students laugh at me when my “app-tempts” explode. We all laugh together, though, because I’ve found that true humility and vulnerability sometimes creates powerful community. It’s better than the option of playing the immutable sage on the stage, a role that would last, at most, a few measly seconds, and quickly scuttle any vestige of ethos I do have. They teach me more than I could ever figure out myself, and at 1/10 of the time, and they feel powerful when they teach the teacher. I like that. Empowering kids is fun. It’s a rush. Often, when you give That One Troublemaker a Chromebook and a purpose, they are transformed...just like the task they’re working on.
One last thing. At the end of the year, Nick Steinmetz, who I’m sure you know or, if you don’t, you should, challenged us to write a letter about how it went--the inaugural mass Chromebooking. I did that, then ended up writing an alternate version addressed to this year’s students. The letter is friendly yet informative, and includes memes, hyperlinks, footnotes, and other elements that they will run into on digital platforms. Joining our Google Classroom and reading and responding to that letter was their first assignment of the year. Once they join the Classroom, they also have access to the GDoc that I use everyday in class. Even if they’re absent, they get a good idea of what went on during their absence. Here’s a screenshot of (a portion of) that document:
Regarding technology, it’s going well. The kids are excited and potentially a bit intimidated. They see the potential inherent in the system. Even if they are not used to seeing it that way, they recognize their tech as a catalyst to learning and maybe even prosperity. The responsibility they have with that makes them feel like an adult.
Twenty-six years ago, when I first started teaching, “technology” meant the new-fangled electric pencil sharpener that was bolted to a desk. It’s safe to say a few things have changed since then. Heck, we don’t even really need pencil sharpeners. But I still have one. My students still use it. If you need it, it’s right over there by the door, next to the Chromebook cart and the Cell Hotel phone holder.
Happy teaching, everyone!
Teacher, Pomona High School
Bridge to Curriculum has some NEW dynamic changes, based on teacher feedback, that have been added to enhance the teaching and learning cycle.
NEW!!! Professional LEARNING Library in the Bridge to Curriculum!
We are so excited to announce a brand new module in the Bridge to Curriculum. The Professional Learning Library has over 500 just-in-time learning opportunities. You can find articles, videos of Jeffco teachers, and even face-to-face and virtual professional learning opportunities throughout the district. You will find all of your professional learning needs and wants located here in the Bridge to Curriculum. Anyone can contribute to the Professional Learning Library. Just use the "Create a Professional Learning Button" from the Professional Learning Library page.
REARRANGING UNits of Study
Horizontal Movement of Year at a Glance (YAAGs): You now have the ability to move your Units of Study horizontally. After you have loaded all of your YAAGs, go to the home page and use the arrows to move units.
Please consider the following when reordering of Units of Study:
Vertical Movement of YAAGs
Vertical movement of YAAGs: You now have the ability to drag and drop your YAAGs vertically. This allows teachers to customize YAAGs to better align with how they plan. Some users might want the units of study to follow the students’ daily schedule while others appreciate grouping like contents. After you have loaded all of your YAAGs, go to the home page and use the arrows to move units.
Evidence Outcome Map
This map can help examine how often Desired Results appear in each unit over the entire year. You can examine individual units in order to verify and streamline Evidence Outcomes and Desired Results. This map will support planning on the unit level exponentially.
You can drill down to see Knows, Understands, Dos and Essential Questions that are attached to this Evidence Outcome within this Unit of Study
Link to The Digital Tools Website
We have added a link to the Digital Tools Website! You can now access this database straight from the Bridge to Curriculum!
Fall Camp 1:1
On August 9th, Jeffco's Ed Tech Department hosted a fall version of Camp 1:1! This day of learning centered around transforming the student experience using Jeffco's new Core Digital Tools and devices. We had rooms full of educators, eager to learn how to use technology to empower and engage their students in learning.
Due to the overwhelming success of this event, we want to make sure that all educators have access to the learning. Attached is the schedule with the course descriptions and linked presentations!
A huge thank you goes out to Arvada West High School for hosting our day of learning. 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 4 new members joining our Ed Tech team!
A new year also comes with some exciting new transitions for our amazing teammates.
Lisa will be filling the role of IT Liaison, following Diane's retirement. She will be supporting Jeffco's digital tools, Edgenuity, and a variety of other duties!
Amie will move from an elementary support role to a role supporting technology integration across all curriculum and instructional areas.
Rounding out the Ed Tech team are continuing team members: