“The way a team works as a whole determines success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” - Babe Ruth
We all know Babe Ruth is talking about the great American sport of baseball in this quote, but the same could easily be said about Jeffco Public Schools. Our district is filled with so many key players: thoughtful teachers, amazing administrators and second-to-none staff members; however, unless we are all working #BetterTogether, then we aren’t meeting our potential worth.
When it comes to solving district-level technology problems, it truly takes a diverse team of players to make sure we are meeting the needs of our superstars: our students. Some of Ed Tech's closest team players in this work are our colleagues in IT. Every day Ed Tech and IT partner together to ensure that students are at the center of every technology-based decision.
Simply put, “Learning happens better when we work together.” - Tracy Dorland.
10 Ways your Jeffco Ed tech and IT Teams are #BetterTogether
Share your #JEffcoBetterTogether STory
We would love for you to share your success stories of how your school, Jeffco Ed Tech, and Jeffco IT have worked to be #JeffcoBetterTogether! Submit your story below or share your ideas on our social media accounts! Be sure to use the #JEFFCOBetterTogether hashtag and tag @JeffcoEd Tech @JeffcoIT and @TeamJeffco!
STUDENTS SHARE MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES THROUGH PODCASTS IN SOUNDTRAP
“Starting school this year felt like we were a new blended family all moving in together,” Jacquie Hemphill, a DTL at Mitchell Elementary stated. “In August, we had new students, remote learners, teachers, and staff joining us at Mitchell Elementary in person. We had to patiently pursue a new normal together.”
After a gradual reintegration early this year, and a lot of reviewing of the norms…Jacquie and Josh Hallerberg, a 5th-grade teacher wanted to take the learning deeper and infuse technology simultaneously. Josh asked Jacquie to collaborate with him to guide his students to get back on the steeper learning trajectory by working together to create a podcast in Soundtrap. Jacquie had already laid the groundwork last year in introducing podcasts and was ready and willing to team with Josh and the Mitchell 5th graders.
Check out this 3-minute Adobe Spark Video that captures students explaining their podcasts in soundtrap
Walk into Becky Wilson’s STEAM or Robotics class at Three Creeks K-8 and you will see engaged students, seamless technology use, and computer science in action. Students are collaborating, designing, iterating and problem solving. This week's Ed Tech blog highlights a morning spent with Becky Wilson, STEM teacher at Three Creeks K-8 in Arvada. Becky teaches STEAM, Robotics, and Digital Design classes.
First Period: STEAM and IF/ELSE Statements
Her morning kicks off with her STEAM class of 6th graders, focusing on conditionals in programming. What better way to learn this than an active game of Red Light, Green Light with a twist? Students adjourned to the basketball court to partake in a quick warm up. With Becky Wilson at the forefront, students practiced conditionals in action--
"If you are wearing long pants take one step forward, else take 1 step backward". Utilizing this game, students learn in an unplugged manner, incorporating movement, and reaching kinesthetic learners to help create transfer for a difficult concept.
When they came in students were given 6 minutes to illustrate IF/Then statements about the weather. They chose different mediums to answer- some answered on paper, some on the table, some on an ipad app. Whichever the medium, the result was imported into their journal in Book Creator.
Next, students learned about variables by programming micro:Bits to play the classic game, “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. Becky asked her students, “What is the variable that changes each time you play? How do we program the computer to select this variable randomly?”. Students programmed micro:Bits, a pocket sized microcontroller that holds one program at a time. Using MakeCode students can code in block-based or text-based programming. Since her students gave her feedback that they appreciated when they had a choice in their learning, they were given a choice board of different tasks that they could program the micro:Bit to do after programming their game.
Second Period: ROBOTICS- CUE to the rescue!
Next her class of Robotics students arrived, consisting of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Students were given a real-life scenario, using robots in search and rescue missions. Using cardboard and legos, pairs of students needed to program a CUE robot to sense obstacles and rescue a mini Lego figure. Teams needed to follow the design process to ideate, plan, build, test, and refine their mission.
They have to work with constraints- the robot should be able to perform the rescue by themselves from the code, humans can't get into all places for rescue, we need to code the robot to assist.
Good instruction is evident in everything the kids are doing; real world tasks, learning for a purpose, using the design cycle, dealing with constraints and persevering through a problem. Teams presented their rescue mission to the class, talking through their design process, planning with pseudocode. and casting their code to the projector for other students to see. They were frustrated with constraints from time and materials, but they learn to work through them. They have some video footage of successful runs in case it does not work correctly when they are presenting.
"They learn that the end product does not have to be perfect but that what they learned and how they solved the problem is the focus and the real winner."- Becky Wilson
ready for the rescue
A Reflection from Becky
"The authenticity of learning is so evident when kids are problem solving through robotics. The immediate feedback that they get from video games and their world, they get with robots, which leads to a higher level of engagement. At first, I designed this big complex project but stopped and said why am I doing all the work? I put the cognitive load on the students, the assignment was better because I put it on them.
I have been finding ways to differentiate for my students that need to be pushed. Most are willing to persevere, some have that and are ready for the next piece. I think you need to keep kids where they need to be so they are not overwhelmed, and keep them working toward creating intrinsic motivation to challenge themselves to take on the next level."
When asked how they would change their search and rescue mission--most said they would have added more obstacles to make their code more complex.
You gotta love when students say they would do more work and make it harder! Thanks Becky!!!
Simple - team with your DTL. DTLs are not only your go-to for library books and resources, but they are also the best go-to collaborator, co-teacher and co-planner for your whole staff. DTLs are the best way to move towards collective teacher efficacy.
Some important work your DTL does:
DTLs working with teachers on Research Skills:
DTLs are collaborating, co-teaching and co-planning at all levels to increase student learning, share the workload, and drive curriculum through use of our TechEd tools and our Jeffco Library resources.
So, if you really want to make a change in student effect size?
Team with your DTL.