Digital annotations are not new to the realms of technology and education. Digital annotation tools continue to be available and ever changing. The power of digital annotations rests with the user and their abilities to capture their thinking, as well as, share it with others. In K-12 classrooms, digital annotations can be a great tool that empowers learners to begin capturing their thoughts and ideas leading to artifacts of learning which demonstrate understandings. Digital annotations can also be a great source for digital/e-portfolios allowing learners to reflect on their growth and development.
Why use digital Annotations?
Why should digital annotations be a part of every classroom and learning environment? Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are all fundamental components of learning which lead to critical thinking and digital annotations have the ability to cover all four areas. Digital annotations empower us as learners to engage with text, capture our thoughts, share with others, and gain insights from others thinking. Writing is a great way to process our thinking and allows us to begin identifying the process to where our thinking is going. When we digitally annotate and begin to share those annotations in collaborative spaces, our annotations become the center of collaborative dialogue and learning in which we grow collectively. When we begin to learn about annotating for learning, collaborative spaces for sharing and engaging in digital discussion opens doors to understand annotation strategies and processes from other learners with more annotation experience.
Getting started with Digital Annotations
Where and how to begin using digital annotation tools can be daunting and intimidating however, there are a few simple tools that can empower us as learners to get started on the journey. The comment feature in Google is one of the simplest ways to get started. The feature is available on Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings and a few other tools in the G-Suite. It is even now available on any file housed in Google Drive. Comments can be added to PDF's, images, MS Word documents and more when stored in Google Drive. A simple highlight of targeted text or information allows a user to capture thinking and share thoughts collaboratively.
If you're looking for a more robust tool with increased options, Kami is a great selection. Kami has paid versions with additional features however, the free version has plenty of options that are perfect for learners to get started annotating digitally. Highlighting, underlining, and strikethroughs (in a variety of colors) are all available at no charge. Additional features include adding text, comments, and drawing shapes. Under a 14-day free trial when you begin your account you'll have access to drawing, text to speech and a few other advanced options to try them out. Collaborative annotations with Kami are a breeze and users can save their annotated files in Google Drive if need be. It also works well with Google Classroom.
Digital annotations can occur on web-based material as well. Hypothes.is is a great option to consider for annotating web sites. Hypothes.is is entirely free to all users for all features. The tool was originally created for medical professionals who were collaborating around medical journal readings to increase learning and growth. Hypothes.is requires a login which is fairly simple and free to set up. Users can highlight information on websites and even add annotations (notes) which appear in a side bar. Annotations can be public, private, or in collaborative groups. Tagging annotations is offered as an advanced feature at no charge as well for users to quickly access collaborative discussions or topics. Annotations appear to users when visiting websites while the Hypothes.is extension is enabled.
Digital annotations can be highly beneficial to us as educators along with our students. Collaboration is now easier than ever with access to new technologies and the tools shared above work just as well for adults as they do for kids. Curating and sharing resources saves us all time and energy and digital annotations can be a quick way for us to collaborate across schools, districts, states, and more. How are you thinking about using digital annotations whether for your professional practice or during instruction with students? We'd love to hear your thoughts using the comment section of this post and look forward to learning more about how you are transforming tasks through digital annotations.
BY GUEST BLOGGER Christopher Brannon Church
Brannon Church is a technology teacher at Carmody Middle School. He has been a teacher in Jeffco for 19 Years. For the first 18 years, Mr. Church taught 6th Grade and this year has joined the Carmody team as their Robotics Teacher. Here he shares how he is making impacts in student lives through the development of Jeffco Generations. Mr. Church provides some great examples of how students learn with technology and ways teachers can access resources to begin integrating technology that engages students in creative learning opportunities.
I have always felt the need to incorporate technology into my day. I realized early in my career that very few things can improve student engagement like introducing a new tool or program. However, this usually only works if the teacher is as excited to explore new opportunities with their students. Fortunately, opportunities are much easier to come by nowadays because of the availability of chromebooks and free software. 95% of the curriculum we are exploring at our middle school comes from free programs that coexist with student Google logins. The Jeffco Ed Tech team is extremely supportive, and has equipment/resources for teachers to borrow to show their administration how important purposeful play can be in learning.
With all the free resources out there that appeal to the STEAM driven teacher, there is no excuse for not trying to implement computer science into some aspect of their day. Most educational apps use the Google Identity Platform which eliminates the burden of student login problems. I feel that Jeffco is headed in the right direction when it comes to preparing students for a successful future.
Demonstrating how to use Makey Makey & Scratch:
An Exit Ticket Using Makey Makey. Students were given the opportunity to create a project using Makey Makey and Scratch. I wanted them to see that they are limited only by their imagination. One on my administrators came to me looking for ways to make exit tickets more engaging and relevant. With student input, we created our interactive exit ticket using Makey Makey and Scratch. It was a huge success, and students immediately tried to jump on the “aluminum foil switch” idea for their own projects.
Jeffco Generations Skills:
These are examples of using technology as a tool to develop Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as well as Communication skills from Jeffco Generations. As an initial activity with Makey Makey, students were to research their favorite childhood song, find the sheet music, create a piano in Scratch, and use the controller from Makey Makey to recreate their song. The most amazing part of this activity is that students completed this project with very little guidance. Students relied on each other to figure out how to fix bugs in their program to make their music selection work.
How do I get access? - I am extremely fortunate to have 1:1 chromebooks in all of my Robotics classes, and nowadays there are hundreds of reputable websites that are available at no cost. Many of the hands on materials that I rely on have come from my own pocket, or were funded through the Donors Choose website. Any student can learn to code!
Funding is out there - After borrowing Makey Makey kits from Jeffco Ed Tech I decided that I had to have a set for my class to take our scratch lessons to the next level. Believe it or not, it was fairly simple to acquire the funds needed for a Makey Makey kit. Donors Choose and Google’s CS First are practically giving away money to teachers that complete a few simple activities with their class.
Skill Application Across Content Areas:
One of the favorite parts of my job is giving students an opportunity to show off what they have learned in Robotics/Coding and using those skills in other content areas. An example this year is a 6th grader who decided to retell the entire story of Maniac Magee using Scratch by taking her character on a journey through the story. It was amazing! This clearly demonstrates proficiency in computer science as well as a deep meaningful comprehension of a novel in literacy.
Below are just a few activities where application of the following Jeffco Generations Skills were imperative to complete the activity. As students completed these activities, they developed these Jeffco Generations Skills:
Sphero Bridge Build: Students were to demonstrate Critical and Creative Thinking along with Communication skills as they used the Engineer Design Process to research, design and build a bridge with drinking straws. Bridges needed to support the weight of a Sphero and span over 50 centimeters.
Friday Fly Day: During this activity, students were to research ramp design and create their own ramp to support the weight and acceleration of Sphero. This activity supports Collaboration and Leading by Influence.
Sphero Battle Tanks (captured with a 360 Camera): Students demonstrate Agility and Adaptability during their Sphero Battle Bots competition. Students used the Engineer Design Process to create “tanks” for their Spheros.
Merge Opportunities: During our introduction to 3D design, students were able to use Merge Cubes and AR/VR Goggles to check their 3D Prints. Instead of wasting printer filament, we are able to upload our designs to Object Loader and see if there are any flaws to our design. Students demonstrate Self Direction and Personal Responsibility as they create their own designs using Tinkercad, view their design in Augmented Reality, and print a clean final project.
In conclusion, I would urge all educators who are interested in integrating tech into the classroom to join Twitter. I have found so many creative educators on Twitter that share an endless number of incredible projects or ideas. Feel free to follow me @MrChurch (shameless plug) and make some connections with teachers all over the world that are passionate about integrating technology into their classrooms.
New: CLOSED CAPTIONING IN GOOGLE SLIDES
Presenters can now opt to show real-time automated closed captioning while presenting in Google Slides. Google uses your computer's microphone to detect your spoken presentation, much like using the voice-to-text option that is available within many G Suite tools. This feature can help make your presentation more effective for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, non-native speakers, visual learners, and in loud learning environments.
Need to make a recording of your entire mini lesson or direct instruction while teaching? Enable the closed captioning feature and use a screencasting tool, wuch as Screencast-o-matic or Screencastify, to record the progression and pacing of the slides WITH the words you are speaking. This video can be distributed to students via Google Classroom or embedded on a website so that students who missed instruction or need reteaching can watch the video on an as-needed basis.
For directions on using automated captions visit the Google Help Center
How should you treat others online? How can you handle cyberbullying? How can you preserve your online reputation or “digital footprint” on both social media and elsewhere on the Internet? How should you handle unwanted attention or strangers online? These questions and more are at the center of the Kids Safe Online MS-ISAC Poster Contest. Students from kindergarten through twelfth grade can demonstrate their understanding of these complicated issues for a national audience through the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analytics Center.
Updated Curriculum resources
Going Deeper- Recognition
As students wade deeper into the learning around digital citizenship, and have access to technology in schools, teachers and schools can guide students towards making safe choices in the digital age. Teachers and schools can become Common Sense Educators . As defined by Common Sense, “[These] educators are committed to helping kids and schools thrive in the digital age. Anyone who is an educator -- whether a classroom teacher, administrator, tech coach, librarian...-- can become a Common Sense Educator.” The process includes a personalized roadmap for professional growth in three steps: LEARN, DO, REFLECT. Criteria and resources can be found here and take between four and six hours. This honor is granted for a year at a time and can be submitted anytime before June 30, 2019. Schools can follow a similar process and become Common Sense Schools (resources here). Schools can then promote how they are preparing students with the skills to navigate the digital world.
Using their learning from the Common Sense Media, Be Internet Awesome and other digital resources, students have an opportunity to create landscape posters illustrating the safe use of Internet and/or mobile devices for MS-ISAC, the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center. Students can create hand-drawn and electronic art in either a single full page or a 4-panel comic. Winners from each age group (K-5, 6-8, 9-12) will be chosen and will have their artwork displayed in a calendar which is distributed throughout United States. The artwork is used in campaigns to raise awareness among children of all ages about internet safety and computer safety. The top four entries will also be produced as posters promoting cybersecurity practices. The contest is open now and runs through January 25th.
- Website: https://www.cisecurity.org/ms-isac/ms-isac-toolkit/
- Guidelines and Entry Form
- Please direct any questions to email@example.com, and they provide more information on the contest. All submissions and forms can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as a scanned image, or can be mailed to the address below:
Using the resources above, learners can be given a prompt and the associated article to read. Following the reading, learners can engage in a short writing activity to gather thoughts and develop ideas. Learners can then share their thoughts with others and ideas to seek feedback for further development and discussion. Some ideas might include:
- Writing on Google Docs and using the comment feature for sharing and feedback with peers or even community volunteers.
- Using Google Classroom for digital discussion threads. (See the Guide to New Google Classroom for more information on how to manage discussion threads in Classroom)
- Using Schoology for digital discussion boards. (Schoology Instructor Guide & Schoology Student Guide)
- Creating a blog posts or web pages to share with global audiences and seeking feedback through the comment features.
- Writing a student opinion section to be shared in the school announcements or community newsletter.
- For learners over the age of 13, participating in the New York Times Student Opinion Section to share thoughts and opinions while interacting with other learners across the globe.
- Don't have access to a number of technology devices? Learners can leverage writing on paper, engage in Socratic seminar discussions and send letters to city council members or legislators to share their opinions.
- Participate in an online learning community
- Collaborate with teachers across Jeffco and learn with others beyond your own building
- Apply just-in-time learning with your students
Google Apps for Littles
New this Fall!
We hope to learn alongside of you this Fall!
August 9th Learning Day
Jamie joins the team as a former Jeffco Instructional Coach with a passion for technology. She’s returning to work after taking a year off to spend time with her family. Jamie will serve as a point-of-contact for most of our middle schools this year.
Nick joins us from Aurora Public Schools where he worked in a similar role as Ed Tech and Personalized Learning support for a wide range of schools in the district. We are excited to tap into his great wealth of knowledge and expertise. Nick will serve as a point-of-contact for most of our high schools this year.
We wish Karrie continued success as she transitions from an Ed Tech Specialist position to a Digital Teacher Librarian position at Deer Creek Middle School. We will certainly miss her many talents on our team and feel fortunate that she will continue to make a difference for the Deer Creek community.
Amanda has accepted a position as a Digital Literacy and Instructional Coach at Thunder Vista P-8 in Adams 12. She spent countless evenings and her summer break working hard to open this brand new school. We wish her the very best in her exciting new adventure!
Rather than support a sub-set of our schools (as she’s done for the past few years), Marnie will be charged with developing a strategic vision for Computer Sciences working in close partnership with schools, central departments, communities, CDE and vendors in shaping this exciting work.
We are excited to welcome Julie back from maternity leave. As an Ed Tech Specialist, she will continue as a point-of-contact for a subset of our elementary schools this year.
Amie will move from a Title I-funded position to one that supports all of Jeffco. She will serve as a point-of-contact for a subset of our elementary schools this year.
- Mary Beth Bazzanella - Director of Educational Technology
- Cathy Baune - Assistant Director of Blended Learning
- Lisa Summitt - Ed Tech Specialist
- Alice Graves - Senior Training Specialist
- Diane Puntenney - Technical Support Specialist/IT Liaison
- Jen Shirley - Curriculum and Course Code Technician
- Heidi Floyd - Digital Teacher Librarian Coordinator
- Joan Jenkinson - Lead Cataloger
- Pat Walsh - Cataloger
Have you been thinking about uploading Resources or Assessments into the Bridge to Curriculum? Do you have some great resources that other Jeffco teachers could use with their students? If you upload any Resource or Assessment into the Bridge to Curriculum, you are eligible to win a classroom mini-grant of $100.00! Each time you enter a Resource or Assessment, just put your name into the form below and you will be entered into a monthly drawing. https://tinyurl.com/Bridgeminigrant Questions: Ask here Directions for uploading here.
Here are the facts:
- After you enter-add your name to the form: https://tinyurl.com/Bridgeminigrant
- Each entry on the form is a chance to win
- Many mini-grants will be awarded each month
- This school year over 200 teacher-created Resources and Assessments have been added to Bridge to Curriculum
- 15 Performance Tasks created with the help of Jay McTighe have been added to Bridge to Curriculum
- Teams of Math and ELA teachers are coming together in March and April to share their “Authentic Tasks” in Bridge to Curriculum
- You can enter to win each time you share a Resource or Assessment in Bridge to Curriculum
- There is a Bridge to Curriculum Training Team, that would love to come out to your school and support teachers as they share Resources and Assessments in Bridge to Curriculum
Teams of two elementary educators are encouraged to apply. Team members can be from different schools.
Fifteen teams will be notified of acceptance. Teams must agree to meet all the required components of this opportunity listed below. Select robotics equipment will be available for use.
Important Dates and Deadlines
- February 9th- Application closes
- February 14th- Teams are notified of acceptance
- March 8th- Required Professional Learning Day #1
- May 8th- Required Professional Learning Day #2
Questions? Contact Julie.Carlson@jeffco.k12.co.us
Jeffco Ed Tech hosted the all-day event which included an influential keynote speaker, prizes, demo slam, and 48 sessions facilitated by Jeffco educators.
Thought-provoking sessions were focused on how technology is transforming teaching and learning in Jeffco classrooms.
This was the best tech conference I have been to... including ISTE!! The sessions were applicable to what we are doing now in schools. Our entire instructional staff went and every teacher responded to my google reflection form that they were inspired and ready to try their new learning. The presenters and topics were very knowledgeable of what teachers experience and were able to relate to the classroom.
Ken examined the impact on student learning when the focus shifts from solely making changes to transformative experiences.
Digital Teacher Librarian
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