Entering our third year of TechforEd, the Ed Tech team wanted to create opportunities for our 5th grade students to learn the digital tools through an asynchronous course. Students start by joining a Google Classroom for the following tools: Adobe Spark, WeVideo, Book Creator, or Soundtrap. These four tools all allow for the 4 C's: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication. The students have an opportunity to grow their own knowledge and choose how they want to show their understanding of the digital tools through their creations.
Using the Tools
Each of the Google Classroom course begin with learning around using the tools designed specifically for 5th grade students. Then the students complete the course by submitting their own creation to the Ed Tech Team. So far we've seen videos, books in Book Creator, music made with Soundtrap, flyers, and web pages.
Our 5th-grade student ambassadors are learning more than just technical skills with the Digital Tools Student Course. They are now taking on a leadership role in our school and sharing what they have learned with their younger peers. ~Jessica Jones, Media Specialist, Kendallvue Elementary
Lucy, a 5th grader, created this story using Book Creator. She was able to import pictures, use existing backgrounds, and write a story about a gorilla told from the gorilla's perspective. Before she created the book, Lucy worked through the course to learn the different elements of Book Creator so that she could utilize the different multimedia tools available.
Beckett at Wilmot created this flyer using Adobe Spark. He chose to pick a relevant topic to show his creativity and was an innovative designer as he worked through the process of learning a new tool. As more and more students complete the course, the more students have the knowledge of the tool and can then help their classmates and teachers too!
Learning & Creating Independently
"This type of independent, self-driven learning helps differentiate for kids what they are interested in and has them very motivated to learn new technology!" ~Lisa Polacsek, Digital Teacher Librarian, Vanderhoof Elementary
5th grade students all across the district can now learn the functionality of several of the district purchased digital tools. This allows them to have more voice and choice with showing their learning! For more information contact the Ed Tech Team.
Over the past few months Google has made some updates that will allow users in Jeffco to be more productive in the classroom. Students and teachers both can benefit from the updates.
Ed Tech recommends scheduling your Meets using Google Calendar. Using the calendar to schedule meets adds the following functionality to the meet:
Meet controls all in one place at the bottom bar of the meeting window. The leave call button has been relocated to prevent accidental hangups.
Meeting details, participants, chat and activities are all on the bottom bar.
See what you're presenting
When you present your screen, you can see other participants—and what you’re presenting—at the same time.
In the meeting window, point to your presentation feed to:
Google Drive is our storage area for all Google files.
Read on to see how Drive is so much more than cloud storage.
The priority page allows you to access the files you need through a combination of suggestion and work spaces.
The prioritized files are the documents that Google thinks are most relevant to you. It will also pull up files that you open regularly at that time of the day or week.
Make it Visual
Store files in two places at once.
You can make a file appear in more than one folder by using shortcuts. This is different than making a copy, as the shortcut traces back to the original file. Anybody with access to the folder can see the shortcut. However, if they don't have access to the actual file, they won't be able to open the shortcut.
To make a shortcut right-click the file and select Add Shortcut to Drive.
Convert Microsoft Files and PDFs to Google.
Upload a Word file or PDF to Drive by dragging it from your desktop into the correct folder in Google Drive. You can also click the +New button in Drive and then select "File Upload." Then, in Drive, right-click your Microsoft file and choose "Open With" and choose the appropriate Google Match for your file
Keep multiple versions of a file.
From Drive right click on the file and click "Manage Versions." You can then upload and save a new version of the same file. Versions will be deleted after 30 days unless you manually select "Keep Forever."
Use the Explore button.
You will find a star shaped button at the bottom of each of these Apps that will open a right-hand pane while you are in the program.
Sheets: highlight your data and Explore will offer you functions, formatting, data analysis and more!
Slides: Explore in slides will offer suggestions to make your slides more visually appealing.
Docs: Explore in Docs allows you to do manual searches. You can also cite your source.
See Revision History.
When you are in a Google File (Docs, Sheets, Slides etc.) you can click on File > Version History > See Version History. Here you can name versions, see who made which edits, and restore the document to an older version, if necessary. Note: you must be an editor of the file in order to use version history.
Use the right mode for the job.
Editing: The standard editing mode.
Viewing: Let's collaborators see, but not edit, a file.
Suggesting: Each edit you make to the document will strike-through, underlining suggestions for editors to either accept or reject.
Access Calendar and Keep from Google files.
This is handy so that you don't have to open multiple tabs in your browser. Simply click on the Calendar, Keep or Task icon in the right-hand menu of your screen in Docs, Sheets or Slides. You can also drag and drop content from your Google Keep directly into your Docs, as well!
Communicate while you collaborate.
Google Drive shows your fellow document collaborators in the upper-right corner. Click the chat bubble next to the collaborator chatheads and type your message. Unlike a private message, everyone else in the file can see your discussion, too.
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.
Using Digital tools to create in the classroom
Book Creator allows you to bring creativity and critical thinking to your classroom in any grade level or subject area through the creation of digital books. Combine text, images, audio and video to create: interactive stories, digital portfolios, research journals, poetry books, science reports, instruction manuals, 'about me' books, comic adventures and more! All Jeffco K-12 students have access to premium Book Creator accounts.
How can book creator be used?
Book Creator can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom. It can also be used for professional learning and as a way to communicate with other teachers, parents, and students.
Teachers can create exemplars, how to books, or even a course guide or textbook. Book creator can be used as a way to communicate with students and parents.
Students can use book creator in a variety of ways too! Check out these great examples.
New to Book Creator-Templates
Adobe Spark is an integrated suite of media creation applications for mobile and web developed by Adobe Systems. It’s comprised of three separate design apps: Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video.
Adobe Post allows students to make graphics, posters, flyers, and infographics. These single images can combine text and images. They’re saved as picture files. There are numerous templates or you can start from scratch. Here are some ways to use in your classroom:
Adobe Spark Page is a web page builder that puts the power of creating a web page in the hands of anyone with a story to tell, a product to sell, or a passion to share.
Adobe Page is a great tool to create web pages, slides, and web stories. Some ideas for the classroom include:
➊ Photo Essays
➌ Online Journals
With Adobe Spark Video, you and your students can create compelling videos in just a few minutes using professional looking themes and music. Adobe Spark Video is a free online video making software that allows you to easily combine images, video clips and icons into a beautiful, shareable movie. Add text, music and your own voice to personalize your video. Here's a video made with Adobe Spark Video:
Making it work in the classroom
Both Book Creator and Adobe Spark are great tools for creation and allow students to express themselves. Students can create original works, communicate complex ideas through a variety of multimedia tools within each of these and publish and present their work to their classmates, teachers, and globally if they choose. Check out the Technology Integration Ideas for Upcoming Units for ways to use these tools in the classroom.
For more information on these tools check out the Jeffco Ed Tech website or our YouTube channel.
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!
Whether our students are working remotely, hybrid, or in-person collaboration is a key element to students being successful. Collaboration allows students to share ideas, fosters authentic learning, and allows for peer interaction and feedback. As we move into being fully remote, students need collaboration more then ever.
Considerations when Collaborating remotely
Virtual Small Groups
Digital Tools that promote student collaboration
While there are numerous digital tools that support collaboration while working remotely, a few of our district supported tools are perfect for allowing students to work together and share ideas.
Book Creator Login
Adobe Spark Login
Collaborating using Google
G Suite Apps are collaborative, which makes them highly powerful. They offer opportunities for students to engage in so many different ways. Here are 30 ideas for using them with your class.
Using Book Creator to Collaborate
Wevideo as a collaboration tool
Recently, WeVideo added a new collaboration feature. Now students can collaborate on projects in real-time.
WeVideo’s Chief Education Officer, Dr. Nathan Lang-Raad, said, “Real-time collaboration is a core part of every career field and subject discipline. The same holds true for the classroom. More than ever, learning should be part of a social context, as learners collectively rely on each other’s thinking to solve complex problems and create. No matter what subject or concept we teach, collaboration is a crucial component of blended learning.”
Collaborating using Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is one of the newer tools that we support. 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. While real time collaboration isn't available yet, users can pass the project back and forth to create something together. Click here to learn more about how to collaborate in Spark.
While it isn't easy to make collaboration work in a remote environment, when it does work, students are creative, gaining valuable skills that prepare them for the future and teach students to overcome challenges and conflict.
Comment below on what you've used to get students collaborating during remote learning.
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!