A Learning Management System (LMS) is a structure to provide consistent access to instruction and resources. It provides a pathway for students, families and teachers to access the learning and feedback at all times. Many teachers and families had their first experiences with an LMS in response to Covid-19. However, a Learning Management System, whether it be Schoology, Google Classroom, or Seesaw has a purpose and a place far beyond a pandemic.
In a world where all educators are working to guide students to become Global Collaborators, Creative Communicators, Knowledge Constructors, Empowered Learners, and engaged Digital Citizens we need to provide the structures and spaces that authentically deliver these opportunities on a daily basis. A well organized and thoughtfully implemented LMS is the foundation to this work.
Access to a Learning Management System provides students:
For Our Families
Use of a consistent LMS means that caretakers will have peace of mind knowing their students have access to all the resources listed above. It also means that families will:
Learning Management Systems in jeffco
This Friday, March 12, various departments will be gathering (online, of course!) to provide professional learning opportunities for teachers. The EdTech department will be bringing you a variety of options throughout the day to further your skills and knowledge on our digital tools!
Here’s is an overview of the sessions being offered by our department this week… Also linked below, some of these sessions come as asynchronous learning eBooks as well!
If you have questions about any of these sessions, please reach out to your EdTech Specialist. To join these sessions and to see the full line-up of sessions for Friday, please click here.
With National Library Lover's month starting in just a few days, we thought it would be great to share some of the work that has been happening in libraries over the past 10 months.
Since March 2020 our schools have worked through a flux of transitions between remote learning, in-person learning, and hybrid learning. Not just once but multiple times during the school year, depending on the health and status of each cohort, class, school, our county and the state. As our schools have focused on supporting students and families while continuing the learning, our school libraries have continued to work to meet the needs of each instructional mode, safely providing access to resources and instruction for students and staff.
Libraries are the heart of the school community. Often referred to as the hub of the school, school libraries offer support for all students and their families, host community events, hold a diverse collection of books and resources for all, offer a place for all learners to explore interests and provide an instructional partner for teachers in the Digital Teacher Librarian (DTL). DTLs serve many roles in a school, but one of the most critical is to be a partner and coach for teachers, as teachers and DTLs collaborate and explore innovation in their teaching practice, in particular integrating technology and critical thinking skills throughout lessons.
The work for libraries, in particular our Digital Teacher Librarians, preceding the pandemic helped to prepare our schools for a smoother transition into remote learning. Grounded in the ISTE Standards, DTLs authentically embed digital literacy skills in content, working to prepare our students to be future ready citizens. Information and Media Literacy coupled with fostering a love of reading, DTLs curate relevant and meaningful resources for all students, providing opportunities through instruction to reflect and grow as learners.
In a traditional, non-pandemic setting, the library is a busy space all on its own. Now with the added challenges that come with properly quarantining resources and overseeing the management of the library in a whole new way we have found some great opportunities and continue to address the evolving challenges.
Bradford K-8 South Digital Teacher Librarian, Denise Cushing, found a new way to connect with students and promote a love of reading with their “Breakfast and Books” program. The group, of over 40 (mostly Kindergarten - 2nd grade) students, meet online weekly before school starts and engage in discussions and share books. Over Winter Break, Mrs. Cushing and the students participated in Read Across America and shared titles connected to states, such as Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (Utah) and Big Moon Tortilla by Joy Cowley (Arizona).
From the start of the pandemic the request for books to be read aloud has been resounding nationwide. Publishers have responded and have temporarily adjusted their copyright permissions during this time to allow read alouds. With the guidelines shared, students and teacher librarians have found new ways to share their love of literature.
Kyle Walker, Digital Teacher Librarian at both Kullerstrand Elementary and Maple Grove Elementary, recently shared his read-aloud of Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, retold by Eric A. Kimmel. (you can watch as snippet of the video below).
Another success during the pandemic, students discovered new access to thousands of ebooks on their school library websites (Destiny Discover Library System). This is the result of a project three years in the making that happened to come together in the Spring of 2020.
During the periods of in-person learning, school libraries have worked to continue to support the desire for books. More now than ever before students appreciate and miss the ability to browse the stacks of books in the library. Our elementary libraries are working diligently to fill the demands as students request and place Holds on selections of books. The challenge in this time is managing the balance of properly allowing books to sit in quarantine for 72 hours, pulling the requested titles and (the best part) delivering the books to students in their cohorts. Our DTLs have had to think creatively about how best to support teacher and student requests, some schools are managing well over 200 requests at a time. Now, 10 months into this pandemic each day seems to get a little bit smoother.
Delivering books to students in classes has been one of the highlights throughout this time -the students are all so excited for new books!
Secondary students have been managing remote and hybrid learning throughout the school year. Middle School and High School libraries have worked to support students and staff through the new and innovative formats of asynchronous and synchronous learning. It has been a challenge to support the ever growing demands of overseeing the management of thousands of TechforEd devices deployed throughout the district, while continuing to keep the focus on the instructional practices that have grounded our DTLs, as they are teachers first.
Angie Wagner, DTL at Bear Creek High school, shared that she feels that one positive that has come from this time is that , “The students appreciate our space and all we do more, knowing how good it used to be when they could come and hang or work on work, a place to recharge.” While the challenge has been “Helping those students who really like coming in and thumbing through books. They like to put their hands on them, see the size of the font, the length, etc.”
At Conifer High School, Digital Teacher Librarian Karen McIntosh, reached out to the author of Watermarked, Danielle Butler, from the UK and connected her virtual reading group for an author visit.
Colleen Sologub-Sobering, DTL at Brady High School, said it well when she shared, “We are a conduit for our students and our teachers and staff to navigate through this uncertain time. They are looking to us for help in researching, learning, and trying new things. Not that this is so unusual, but it is the fact that we are working without always seeing the kids face to face, but we are helping them as much as we can.”
So if you get a chance this February - share some love with your school libraries! It will be greatly appreciated.
check out "The Elementary ELement" Below:
Jeffco's one stop curriculum resource shop for K-5 teachers!
ENHANCE STUDENT COMMUNICATION AND CRITICAL & CREATIVE THINKING WITH ORIGINALITY REPORTS
Today’s students are dealing with a complex challenge: In a time where all of the world’s information is at their fingertips with a simple Google search, how do they balance what is already created with their own unique perceptions and ideas?
Educators have spent endless hours copying and pasting passages into Google Searches to check if student work is authentic. This process is not only inefficient but also biased.
Originality reports use Google Search to help students AND teachers. Originality reports are available in Google Classroom and in Schoology using the Google Assignments app
Originality reports how-to guide
“Originality reports are created by scanning submissions for matched phrases across hundreds of billions of web pages and tens of millions of books.” (Google for EDU)
When assigning work in Classroom and Assignments, teachers will have the option to enable originality reports with the simple click of a button. Students will then be able to run up to three originality reports on documents they attach to the assignment before submitting their work. This gives students an opportunity to proactively improve their work.
After submission, a comprehensive originality report will be available for use when grading the assignment. Originality reports will highlight text that has missed citations and/or has high similarity with text on the web or in books. The report will also show the web matches and even give the teacher the link to investigate for themselves.
Students today have to learn to navigate between millions of other people’s ideas and their own. They also need to know the tried and true methods of how and when to properly cite sources. Fortunately, now Jeffco students can use originality reports to support writing original thoughts while also teaching them about properly citing sources!
Advantages of student use of originality reports (From Google Support):
Teachers spend a lot of time giving feedback about missed citations and improper paraphrasing. Integration of the power of a Google search directly into assignments and grading tools, makes the teacher’s job much more efficient. Originality Reports make it easy for instructors to screen for potential plagiarism and to use those reports to create teachable moments for their students. Originality reports are built to be a teaching tool rather than a “gotcha”.
Advantages of teacher use of originality reports (From Google Support):
Additional features in enterprise for education
Educators have unlimited access to Originality Reports
Students have access to three reports per assignment
Originality Reports are available in Google Doc assignments, but will soon also be available in Google Slides assignments!
Teachers will be able to receive originality reports that include student-to-student matches within the @jeffcoschools.us domain.
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!
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!
Actively Learn is one of the newest additions to the premium tools available to teachers and students in Jeffco! Teachers and students grades 5-12 have premium access to this robust interactive platform. Filled with carefully curated content including appropriate articles and readings (even some videos!), thoughtful standards-aligned questions in a highly customizable environment with numerous accessibility tools, Actively Learn makes finding, personalizing and assigning readings a snap. Here’s a quick video overviewing what Actively Learn is capable of bringing to your students.
Logging in to Actively Learn for the first time is a little different than other Jeffco Digital Tools. Find the tech tip here!
Or watch this quick YouTube video overviewing the process.
NOTE: In the future, you’ll be able to simply sign in with Google.
Students will always sign in with Google; no need to do anything different the first time for them!
To learn more about how to create classes, customize and assign content, and grade assignments, take a look at this brand new eBook from the EdTech department: Introduction to Actively Learn - Asynchronous Learning.
Jeffco’s EdTech department has also made an Actively Learn YouTube playlist with tutorials for many of the basic functions of Actively Learn. (See below!)
Actively Learn also has a very robust Help Center to answer your questions on the fly!
Don’t forget about the EdTech Office Hours for teachers! We are available 7am-4pm Monday-Friday to help with your Actively Learn and other digital tool questions. Find the link for Office Hours and other EdTech resources here!
More tools to support a digital classroom
First and foremost the Ed Tech team would like to welcome back all staff and students to the 2020-2021 school year.
This will be a year of many firsts, and we look forward to navigating alongside each and every one of you.
With all of the unknowns, we wanted to help make your jobs a little easier.
We heard your feedback from the spring and now have even more digital tools to help make the digital classroom a better space.
Actively Learn allows you to engage students through texts (and videos) for ELA, Science, and Social Studies. Scaffolds and higher-order questions are available to support students in reading and engaging with these texts. All Jeffco 5-12th grade students have access to premium Actively Learn accounts through #TechforEd!
Check out Ed Tech's Actively Learn Multi Media Text Set
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.
All Jeffco K-12 students have access to premium Adobe Spark accounts through #TechforEd
Check Out Ed Tech's Adobe Spark Multi Media Text Set
Screencastify is a Chrome extension that allows you to record your screen, face, voice and more. You can capture just a tab in your browser or all of your screen activity. You can even insert video of yourself talking on top of your screen recording.
ALL Jeffco employees and students have access to premium Screencastify accounts through #TechforEd!
Check out Ed Tech's Screencastify Multi Media Text Set
Securly Classroom is a cloud-based classroom management tool for Chrome, giving teachers new freedom to guide, monitor and communicate with students during in-person or remote learning.
ALL Jeffco K-12 teachers have access to premium Securly Classroom accounts through #TechforEd!
Check out Ed Tech's Securly Classroom Multi Media Text Set (working document)
Check out all paid digital tools in jeffco
Access Jeffco Ed Tech's digital tools page to learn about all of Jeffco's premium digital tools. This page is a resource for the why, what, and how of each digital tool. The intended audience for this page is Jeffco staff.
If you are looking for family resources, those can be found HERE.
For immediate support, visit Ed Tech's office hours, Monday-Friday 7:00 am-4:00 pm, HERE.
This blog post is by Tracy Peronard, a math teacher at Dakota Ridge High School. She has had a fascinating career track and shares some amazing insights into how Book Creator can be used for creative instruction and to set examples for students when using Jeffco Digital Tools.
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!
Dakota Ridge High School went 1:1 three years ago. I was excited that my students would each have a device of their own. I dove head first into the technology pool. Despite a lot of groaning from my geometry students, I had them use Geogebra for many tasks that once had been paper and pencil lessons and activities. By the end of the first six weeks, most students were able to successfully use the technology that I presented to them. Through Google Classroom, I provided links to various resources for my students. Since Chromebooks were new for both myself and my students, there were some bumps along the way. My students let me know what was good and more importantly what was bad.
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?
Trigonometry is a one semester class. The first unit covers some topics that I taught my Honors Geometry students. I knew that I had some electronic resources that I wanted to share with my students; so I decided that I would write a book for this first unit. I worried that the book might flop, but I had not invested a lot of time writing a book covering only one unit. I decided not to start Unit 2 until I had feedback from the students.
The best part about writing an eBook is that you can include links to Geogebra activities, Khan Academy practice problems, and my own videos showing how to do select problems. The other advantage to putting all the resources into a book was that students did not have to search Google Classroom to find one old video or link. I watched a YouTube video to learn more about how to use Book Creator, then I started writing.
This is a snapshot from the Unit 1 book. It has a link to a Geogebra activity and an example video about Coterminal Angles.
Like all new tools, there was a learning curve. I clicked on every button to see what would happen. Sometimes, I discovered things by accident. The first few pages were slow, but by the time I had written the material for the first lesson, I felt fairly competent. I was hooked. I worked on the book on and off for a few days before school started. Once it was complete, I was proud of myself.
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.
When it was time for the first test, the book became a valued resource to some of the students. I knew that some students would not use it, but my hope was that a few students would. Much to my delight, I had students ask if I was going to write a book for the next unit. That was all I wanted to hear. You can see the Unit 1 book here.
Since the first book, I have written one for each unit of Trigonometry and they have been easy to revise. The students like the interactivity of the book and students who want to work ahead now have a resource available so they can be self-paced. I use the same language when I talk in class as what is written. The two biggest sells for writing an eBook are that I am not trying to fit my way of teaching to a textbook that is 20 years old; and that I am presenting material to my students in a format that is tailored to their way of learning.
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