"Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results." ~John Dewey.
Digital discussions have become regular practices in our everyday lives. From text messages and social media posts to blog and YouTube comment streams there are continued learning and sharing opportunities with global connections on a regular basis. Many of us are often hyper-active in daily digital discussions as we connect with friends, family, and world-wide audiences.
As we continue to implement the Jeffco Generations skills and Transform Tasks, digital dialogue and discussion opportunities present engaging opportunities to authentically develop skills and concepts beyond the basic acquisition of facts. Through participation in digital discussions with global audiences we are exposed to the challenges of content application, concept justification, and social understandings in our ever changing world.
The New York Times provides a number of incredible resources to educators and students for elevating digital discussion opportunities that engage learners in relevant and meaningful topics. Through The Learning Network, they began in 2014 with 200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing which grew to 650 Prompts for Argumentative Writing in 2016 and is now over 1000 Writing Prompts for Students in 2018. The prompts are broken up by topic areas such as Social Media and Smartphones, Gender Issues, Dating and Sex, Music, Literature and Art, Being a Teenager, School, Health and Nutrition, Science and Animals, Government and Leadership, Personal Character and Morality, and more. Under each topic is a list of questions that are linked to a short articles followed by more specific questions for students to consider and answer. The list of 650 prompts are also available via a handy PDF for easy access and sharing.
So how does this apply to our daily instruction as educators? Francis Bacon said, "Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man". Reading, writing and discussion are a critical components of our everyday learning and growth processes. As educators we know high quality instruction in any content area or discipline contains regular opportunities for learners to engage in reading, writing, and discussion to further develop critical and creative thinking skills.
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:
Reading, writing and dialogue can and should take place in all disciplines, not just literacy. For example, math teachers can leverage prompts like #327 which centers around a distribution graph of how many A's schools hand out or #289 "Are You Afraid of Math?" and #290 "Do We Need A Better Way To Teach Math?". Science teachers can leverage the wide variety of prompts in Science & Health (1,066-1,146) involving Science and The Environment, Animals and Pets, or Exercise and Health. Art teachers have a vast array to choose from in Arts and Entertainment (75-248). Whichever discipline you teach, there can be resources for you to leverage to support students with engaging in reading, writing, and dialogue.
How will you leverage digital discussions as a way to Transform the Task and support learners with developing the Jeffco Generations skills? The Jeffco Ed Tech team is available to support you in thinking through ways you can leverage reading, writing and discussion with students in your instruction. We would also love to hear from you around how you are already leveraging digital discussions or have done so in the past. We learn a great deal from examples and experience so we invite you to share with us as we continue to grow together.
The Jeffco Ed Tech team is excited to announce our Fall 2018 online book studies.
K-2 can, too! Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. They love to explore and play; in fact, that’s how they learn! The Google Apps for Littles book study will provide educators with ideas on how to get students playing and exploring using the G Suite. Empower your littles and shift your thinking to believe that even the youngest kids can do more with technology!
Interested in learning more about our Jeffco Ed Tech book studies? Want to register? Looking for more professional learning opportunities from our team? Click on the image below for details.
We hope to learn alongside of you this Fall!
August 9th Learning Day
Due to the overwhelming success of this event, we want to make sure that all educators have access to the learning. Attached is a document with the course descriptions and linked presentations!
A huge thank you goes out to Golden High School for hosting our event, as well as events for several other departments in the district. We are very thankful to all of the schools who partner with us throughout the year to help us deliver learning to so many educators!
This year we are excited to share that we have 2 new members joining our Ed Tech team!
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.
A new year also comes with some exciting new transitions for our amazing teammates.
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.
Rounding out the Ed Tech team are continuing team members:
Educators across Jeffco have an amazing opportunity to win a $100 Classroom Mini-grant. This communication has recently gone out:
Are you interested in winning a $100.00 Classroom Mini-grant?
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:
Have you bungled with Bee-Bot? Spun with Sphero? Collided with Cubelets? Or muddled with Makey-Makey? Ed Tech wants YOU to join fellow JeffCOders to create dynamic robotic infused lesson plans. Apply for this exciting opportunity today!
The application for teams to join this professional learning opportunity is now open!
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
Questions? Contact Julie.Carlson@jeffco.k12.co.us
Almost 600 Jeffco educators attended the first ever Get Your Tech On professional learning event on Friday, January 5th at Green Mountain High School.
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.
“Transformational Teaching and Learning with Technology” presented by international guest speaker, Ken Shelton, took us back in time for a nostalgic glance at how technology has changed the way we have lived over the last few decades. He gave us a glimpse at how technology has not only changed, but transformed how we learn.
Ken examined the impact on student learning when the focus shifts from solely making changes to transformative experiences.
Have you ever found yourself doodling during faculty meetings? During guest speakers? During professional development? If so, you understand how engaging the kinesthetic portions of your brain can help you focus and remember the content you are attempting to learn, but why is that? "It turns out that various forms of doodling have all kinds of benefits for our brains. Doodling is actually a form of mnemonics, connecting images with information and significantly increasing our ability to remember what we’ve learned. In a 2009 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, 40 participants were asked to listen to an extremely boring recorded telephone conversation. Half of them were instructed to doodle as they listened, and half were given no such instructions. At the conclusion of the study, people who doodled remembered 29 percent more information than their counterparts who did not doodle." (Education Week)
What's a Sketchnote?
A sketchnote varies from a doodle in that the images are purposefully related to the content that the listener is absorbing and sense making. Sketchnotes are a way to take notes, as well as a method to allow for creative expression. To be a successful sketchnoter, you do not need to have artistic skills, but you do have to be willing to practice synthesizing ideas using symbols, figures, text and icons.
Consider how some students might greatly benefit from sketchnoting as they listen in the classroom. How can you use sketchnoting to have students demonstrate learning after watching a video or listening to a lecture, guest speaker, audio book or podcast? How can sketchnoting engage the brain for some students in the way 2-column notes and graphic organizers cannot?
Get to Sketchin' - How do I get started?
Some sketchnoters prefer to sketch with ink and paper, while others prefer to sketch digitally. If you are interested in sketching digitally, you might want to check out the Procreate for iPad app (approved for Jeffco), as well as the Musemee stylus or the Paper by Fifty-three stylus.
Although this equipment works well for many teachers to begin their sketchnoting journey, it is often outside of the price range for a typical classroom. To get your students sketchnoting, consider allowing the physical and digital words to collide. Encourage students to show what they've learned and how they have made connections by sketching on paper with pencil or ink. Using a mobile device, have students capture their sketch with the camera or a scanner app. These images can be uploaded to any of the G Suite tools, Google Classroom, Schoology, Google Sites, and more.
Interested in learning how Sylvia Duckworth does her digital sketchnotes? See the video below!
The Sketchnote Challenge
Thursday, January 11th, is World Sketchnote Day #SNDay2018!
We challenge you to try creating your own sketchnote showcasing a bit of new learning! Share your sketchnote with @JeffcoEdTech on Twitter. Don't forget to add the hashtag #SNDay2018, as well. We also encourage you to get your students sketchnoting in the classroom as a way to sense-make new content and make connections.
Throughout the month of October, Jeffco Ed Tech hosted a Twitter Challenge inspired by Connected Educator month. Our schools offer a lot of face to face ways for educators connect and learn, and we wanted to offer a way to connect and learn digitally. We asked, what if educators in our system had the chance to learn from each other regardless of which building they work in? How might we grow our educators through continued work with PLCs, but also grow their Professional Learning Network (PLN)?
From that question, a Twitter Chat was born! Each week through the blog, we taught basics of Twitter in preparation for the Chat: Challenge 1 and Challenge 2. The questions were designed based on common questions/discussions that Ed Tech Specialists have in a variety of schools.
On October 19, 2017, we invited teachers to engage with us in the evening, and encouraged them to extend the conversations beyond that time. Here's a little summary of some of the Tweets!
This is not a new topic, but it’s taken on new importance thanks to the omnipresent nature of students' online lives. With increased access to 1:1 devices schoolwide, educators will be looking for curriculum and programs to support teaching digital citizenship skills. Want to know more? Check out all of the Digital Citizenship resources on the Ed Tech Website.
It’s what’s hot right now! Using a PBL approach to learning fosters student empowerment, an essential component of the ISTE Standards for Students. The thoughtful integration of technology will enable students to take ownership of their learning and will make learning more active, both inside and outside the classroom. Remember, you don’t have to do a technology PBL to integrate technology. Technology can support all PBLs! Check out our recent blog on PBL in Jeffco!
Be a connected educator
Welcome to week 3 of Jeffco Ed Tech's Twitter Challenge. Now that you've gotten the chance to lurk and read a few tips for posting a variety of tweets, you'll have the opportunity to become more connected on Twitter by both consuming and producing content during a chat. Save the date: Thursday, Oct. 19 @ 7pm MST! In this post, scroll to find information about how to participate and etiquette during the chat.
Final Challenge: Lead Your Nest's V Formation
Participate in a Twitter Chat hosted by Jeffco Ed Tech.
Here are the questions you can anticipate during the chat: