First year Digital Teacher Librarian, Tanya Jensen, has been collaborating with the Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) and her English teachers to develop a website that supports summer reading at Standley Lake High School. The website functions like GoodReads, but has been created specifically for students; high schoolers can write reviews and search for titles based on genre and recommendations. In addition, the staff will participate and add their reviews to the website. The school's vision is to grow the site so that it is an easy way for students to locate books of interest, based on peer reviews. Students can also submit suggestions for books they want the library to purchase in the future.
It is a definition that tells the story of our teacher spotlight this week. Tobye Ertelt, Digital Teacher Librarian at Oberon Middle School embodies the definition of flexible: "characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements". It is the combination of adaptation, innovation and flexible exploration that led Tobye to be the spotlight of today’s blog post. Over the past year, Tobye was motivated to explore innovation after meeting retired lawyer Reshma Saujani, who took a chance to pursue a passion and as a result, inspired thousands of young ladies around the world. Additionally, Tobye found herself moved by the story of Logan Smalley, a TED Fellow, who is the brains behind TED-Ed (TED's youth and education initiative). These two inspiring stories incited a passion for exploration and innovation leading to new opportunities for Oberon students today.
In the spring of 2016, after a visit to a TED-Ed conference, Tobye filled out a feedback form and applied to become a TED-Ed Innovator. The questions posed in that feedback form opened a door to share a topic that has been core to Ms. Ertelt's heart, "What is ethical behavior in the 21st century?" She inherently believes that we, as educators and adults, have done a great disservice to our students separating digital behavior from everyday behavior. And so it is with this essential question that a new door opened for Tobye, leading her to become 1 of 30 educators from 11 different countries selected for the honor of joining the third cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators. Our own Tobye Ertelt is one out of an initial group of over 1100 educators who took a chance to challenge each other to collaboratively find solutions to questions and issues facing today's students.
teaching with passion
Kyle Walker, the Digital Teacher Librarian at Kullerstrand Elementary, shares the passion of robotics and coding with his students. This year, with the help of a generous donor, Kyle started the Robotics and Coding club at his school. Every Monday afternoon, students collaborate and work together to engineer a robot that can be coded to perform unique tasks.
Kyle has reached out to various community members to help build career connections between computer science and robotics. The School of Mines Robotics Club made a visit earlier this year and shared their own robotics project and mentored the students. Jason Roadman, an engineer at NREL visited the club and shared some of his own engineering expertise with wind turbines, allowing students to build real world connections.
Jeffco's Educational Technology Team visited 3 Apple Distinguished Schools in St. Vrain Valley Schools, as part of Apple's school visit program. Although these schools were 1:1 iPad schools, the following 5 strategies can be implemented at any school site to aid in integrating technology.
Flip through our presentation to view the strategies and see some examples from real school settings.
If your school is implementing any of these these strategies, please share your success with our team! We'd love to see your photos and hear your ideas!
Often times in education, technology is viewed as a piece of "curriculum dessert," a tasty tidbit that only gets touched after the content is taught and the students need to demonstrate their learning at the end of a unit. Technology isn't a dessert at Swanson Elementary, it's the fork that helps the students digest their learning. Here, Kendra Geise, Elizabeth Hall, and Crystal Parson (the 3/4 literacy and social studies team) have made daily technology integration part of their classroom culture.
You’ve probably heard the word thrown around in certain circles. People casually dropping the catchy word, MakerSpace, like it’s no big deal. You smile and nod but don’t really know what they’re talking about. It sounds fun and STEM-like but it sounds a little intimidating.
So what IS all this buzz about a MakerSpace?
A MakerSpace is just what it sounds like...a SPACE to MAKE! Makerspaces provide students with the opportunity to create, learn, invent and make, using a variety of different resources. From Legos to robots, straws to 3D printers, the sky's the limit when it comes to innovation. And even with tight budgets - scrappy DTLs and teachers have found great ways to include some incredible resources.
So you might be wondering, “How does that work in a school?”
Keri Douglas is the DTL at Deane Elementary School located in Lakewood, CO. She got her MakerSpace up and running in the library this year. She’s a rookie, too, so hopefully her journey can inspire you, as you embark down the MakerSpace road.
How do you integrate technology into an author visit? Take the author on a trip to his own setting. Fifth graders at West Woods Elementary not only met author Roland Smith but invited him to climb Mt. Everest with them. Students in Ms. Bachman's class were reading "Peak", one of Smith's many novels when the author himself came for an assembly to talk about the writing process. Armed with Google Cardboards and the Expeditions app, fifth graders were able to take a tour of Mt. Everest through virtual reality as the author narrated. Students were amazed at the details and facts Mr. Smith shared with them about Mt. Everest as he was looking through the Google Cardboard. They asked him several follow-up questions about how he acquires so much information and the research that goes into his writing process.
Later in class, students participated in a full expedition to Everest with Digital Teacher Librarian, Kristen McCann. "Watching students engage in their learning and the connections that students were able to make to the text because of the experience was phenomenal," stated Kristen.
Genius Hour = Engagement x Learning2
Fourth graders at Van Arsdale participated in Genius Hour, based on Google's 20% time. This is part of a movement to promote self-directed learning, innovation, creativity, and sharing. Students spend time devoted to a topic of their choice. It is more about the process than the product. Fourth grade teacher, Dawn Wiley worked with her DTL, Michelle McHugh, to tie Genius Hour to CAP. "Students were the ones recognizing the cross-curricular connections. They were the ones leading the learning,” remarked Dawn. "I was so impressed with them. Genius Hour brings learning full circle.”
Alyssa Davidson teaches 9th grade Earth Science at Ralston Valley High School. Instead of relying on a predetermined lesson plan, Davidson uses formative assessment to guide student learning and direct instruction. I recently observed Davidson to see how she integrated technology and formative assessment into her instruction. Upon entering the classroom on Monday morning students were immediately engaged in the learning content. Davidson invited students to take a short four question Socrative quiz to help determine where they were in their learning. Davidson clearly explained to the students that no points were attached to the formative assessment. This made students feel at ease and comfortable to answer the questions to their best ability. The class then discussed the answers to the quiz questions. To stay mobile in the classroom, Davidson controlled what appeared on the class SMARTboard through her iPad. Airserver is an easy, inexpensive tool to enable mobility in the classroom. By using the AirPlay feature on your iPad and Airserver software onto the device that is attached to your projector (laptop or desktop computer with a wireless card installed) you have the ability to mirror content from your iPad onto your projector.
Bob Santone, Math teacher at Jefferson Jr/Sr High School, uses his interest in educational technology to help his students apply math in real life. He integrates technology into lessons and projects so that students see, hear and do the math.