Plug Into Technology

With Students

Welcome to Your Quarterly Newsletter

We are proud to bring you this newsletter to support the teaching and learning of our 21st century learners.

Adaptive Learning

Teachers across SAUSD have been using formative assessment techniques to monitor student learning and provide ongoing feedback to improve student outcomes. For example, schools with the Study Island suite can take advantage of computerized adaptive assessments embedded in that technology which provides immediate feedback both to the student and his teacher. Formative assessment techniques help teachers recognize where students are struggling so they may immediately address their challenges. So adaptive assessments can be very helpful for teaching and learning. But what about adaptive learning?

The relatively new field of ‘computer adaptive learning’, or CAL, provides learners with technologically-enhanced, individualized learning experiences. CAL platforms monitor how the student interacts with curricula and learns by monitoring students’ online interactions with on-screen text, rich media activities as well as messages sent/received by teachers and peers. The signs for adoption of adaptive learning systems are good and results are beginning to trickle in. For example, a few higher education agencies have increased their pass rates for their math readiness courses by 11% to19% using adaptive learning.

Two adaptive learning platforms are emerging in the K-12 space that are of note: Knewton's Adaptive Learning Platform and McGraw-Hill’s SmartBook represent a breakthrough in the field because they take major steps toward making personalized learning accessible.Take a look at their promotional videos (hyperlinks above). Then, if you are interested in providing feedback regarding CAL or are interested in exploring how we may use CAL platforms in our schools, click here…

By: Emil Ahangarzadeh

Say What? Blended Learning!?

Trying to figure out the right combination of face-to-face instruction with technology-mediated activities that support student achievement in your classroom? Blended learning may be the model for you. Yes, there are plenty of research/evidence-based suggestions for how to optimize student achievement; however, an entry point for personalizing the learning experiences of your students may powerfully begin with a blended learning model. Personalizing the learning experiences of your students gives them an increased level of control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of his/her learning.

So, tell me again - what is blended learning? Why do I want to know more about it? You may not find all the answers in a day, but here you will find recent articles related to student engagement and personalized/blended learning:

For more information related to Blended Learning, you may contact Nicol at

By: Nicol Howard

Learning Innovation with Technology Update

2014-15 has been an exciting year! In an effort to meet SAUSD goals to expand access and provide personalized learning opportunities to students, many students in grades 6-8 and in our mini-grant classrooms have received mobile devices and are using them to access digital learning resources to extend learning.

Accomplishments over the past year:

  • Open access has led to the availability of increased digital resources for classroom use. Teachers and students are curating, accessing and using content-specific resources, such as the SAUSD library on Gooru, Khan Academy, and Discovery Education.
  • One of the most prevalent areas of growth has been in the area of use of Google apps as a suite of productivity tools to support student authorship, communication, and collaborative learning activities.
  • In support of expanded access, SAUSD has brought forward a new learning management system (Canvas) to help students and teachers create, access and use digital content.
  • Teachers have introduced coding to their students through the Hour of Code, which is evolving into expanded coding experiences throughout the grade levels.
  • As levels of access have increased, blended instructional strategies have emerged in classrooms at all grade levels, which provide students with greater opportunities to experience learning that is personalized and self-directed.

Based on this reflection of the past year and your input regarding the professional learning support that you need, we have developed a selection of classes that will help you to expand your expertise. These professional classes will support in using digital resources and meaningful instructional strategies to further provide personalized learning experiences to your students.

For more information about the professional learning opportunities this summer, please continue reading this quarterly newsletter. For additional questions, contact the LIT department at (714) 480-4771.

By: Alex Ito

Technology Innovation Services (formerly IT) Update

Here’s what’s going on around the district with regard to information technologies:

  • We’ve installed 55 new wireless access points across multiple schools throughout the district to support additional site-wide Internet accessibility for students and staff.
  • We have upgraded our Internet connection to 10 gigabits per second (20 times the average of most school districts across the state).
  • We are in the process of adding a second 10 gigabit per second connection to the Internet dedicated solely for business transactions. This will allow students and teachers to access and use the full range of bandwidth for learning without having to share bandwidth throughput for business transactions. We expect the second circuit to be functional by December of 2015.
  • We are about half-way through installing a new network control system that offers a converged network policy management solution allowing for faster troubleshooting and more efficient network operations. The system should be in place by mid-summer, 2015.
  • We have initiated an advanced mobile device management (MDM) project which enables us to address most challenges associated with mobile learning devices (e.g iPads). By late summer, we expect to be able to manage all district mobile devices from a central console.

For more information, contact Dr. Emil Ahangarzadeh at 714-480-4703 or at

By: Emil Ahangarzadeh

Summer Professional Development with LIT

Below you will find an overview of the professional learning opportunities offered this summer through LIT:

  • Canvas for Instruction - Walk away with the ability to create content through Pages, Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and structure the content for easy student access. Teachers will have a basic classroom course created by the end of the session.

  • Canvas Connections - Join us this summer for Canvas Connections! You may be a newbie to Canvas, but you're no stranger to developing lessons. From creating assignments to embedding dynamic content, you can use some of your favorite Google Apps and programs within the Canvas LMS to enhance your lessons for our 21st century learners. This hands-on session provides an overview on how to leverage a few of the powerful Canvas Connections to build robust course pages. Please register to reserve your space.

  • SMART Board/Interactive Board - Get to know your SMART Board and how to promote student engagement through motivating lessons, brainstorming, discussions, and note taking opportunities for increased student achievement.

  • SMART Notebook - Learn features and tools of SMART Notebook software to create engaging lessons that advance student learning.

  • Google for Chrome Basecamp - Engage students anytime, anywhere on any device with strategies for Google Apps and tools. Learn practical uses for Google Apps and tools that you can take back to your classroom and use from day one. Connect with other teachers during afternoon breakout sessions focused on Google Apps and productivity tools.

  • Google for iOS Basecamp - Google for IOS Basecamp will explore how Google and IOS work together to create a smooth flow of information with Google Drive being the lynchpin. Writing, sharing documents, collaboration and publishing will be covered with various pathways, including online and offline.

Remember to sign up for classes in OLM, using SA Cloud.

The hand-out below will be delivered to your school-site. If you have any questions, or need more info, please call the LIT Department at (714) 480-4771.

By: Alex Ito

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OCDE Professional Development Opportunities

Orange County Department of Education will offer multiple professional learning opportunities over the summer. Below are tentative dates and session titles.

  • Common Chrome Academy 101 - 6/23/15
  • Common Chrome Academy 201 - 6/24/15
  • Scratch Coding and Math - 7/1/15
  • Scratch Coding and Science - 7/22/15
  • Arduino Coding and Robot Construction - 8/12/15 and 8/13/15
  • Game-Based Learning Camp with MinecraftEDU - 8/18/15, 8/19/15, and 8/20/15

Please visit for more information and registration requirements.

By: Nicol Howard

Future Ready Schools Summit

We are looking forward to seeing 130 of our amazing teachers at our Future Ready Schools Summit. We have a great line up of keynote speakers and presenters scheduled - see you soon!

By: Anne Kling

Gooru Summer Symposium from July 30th - July 31st

From July 30th-31st, Gooru will host a Summer Symposium in collaboration with the Riverside County Office of Education. The goal of the symposium is to provide a a space for Gooru educators and coaches to collaborate, network, review Gooru collections, and showcase high-quality content from participating districts.

The first day will focus on sharing best practices and Gooru product updates. The second day will focus on reviewing content. Educators should make sure to come with their collections ready to be reviewed. Space is limited, so register now at!

By: Nicol Howard

CanvasCon on August 4th

What are you doing August 4th? You are invited to join in a unique learning opportunity called SoCal CanvasCon which is a free full-day event, open to current and prospective Canvas users. The purpose is to bring the community of Southern California area educators together to network, collaborate and share how they are using Canvas to improve teaching and learning. Register at:

By: Wes Kriesel

Coffee Klatch - Summer Online Professional Learning

Summer is here and you want to expand, update, and/or advance your professional learning in a comfortable environment, at home online with a cup of coffee next to the computer. Online professional learning can be useful for learning content, observing video demonstration of effective teaching, and interactive real-time discussions with like-minded educators and professionals.

When searching for online professional learning, teachers should consider the latest analyses of student data that identified learning problems common to students in the grade they teach; then focus professional learning to address differentiation in student achievement.

The question then becomes, are there “free” online professional learning opportunities for the summer? And the answer is yes! Below you will find a few resources that offer “free” online professional learning in a variety for formats.

Edutopia - Offers links to MOOCs

What is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)? It is an open, and usually free university course available online to virtually anyone. Many well respected universities offer MOOCs.

Library of Congress – Self-paced course on teaching with primary sources

Courses include demonstration on how primary sources can be used to support inquiry learning.

Teachers First – Offers a series of online “snack sessions” (live & archived)

Live online workshops are offered through August 5, 2015

By: Juanita Fast

EdCampOC on August 15th

EdCampOC is an unconference that will take place on Saturday, August 15, 2015 from 8am-12pm at Spurgeon Intermediate School in Santa Ana. This FREE event is open to anyone interested in exploring and sharing about almost anything related to education and learning. Registration is now open and attendance will be capped at 200. We hope you’ll make it!

By: Wes Kriesel

See What's Happening Right Now

Most of us have heard of Twitter, some have the app, and a few of us are actively engaging others on it. But have you checked out online? You don’t need an account to check out the latest headlines from around the world. Type Education in the search bar and you will find a wide variety of posts from liberal to conservative views, domestic and foreign education news, and from groups such as Education Week, Google for Education, U.S. News Education, the Gates Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education. In the search bar you can also type in your favorite group such as Google for Education or Apple for Education, see what pops up. Give it a try and see what you find. You will amaze yourself with what you learn in a short time.

By: David Lofink

Minimize the Summer Slide

Orange County Department of Education offers five strategies to combat summer learning loss that emphasize exploration and/or hands-on learning.

  1. Discover hobbies or interests
  2. Use technology to reinforce skills in mathematics, reading, and writing
  3. Visit the library
  4. Volunteer in the community
  5. Enroll in an educational summer program

Visit the OCDE website for the full article.

If you are a teacher with access to blended resources, consider setting up summer curriculum to meet the needs of your students in support of their transition to the next classroom. Looking to set up a learning opportunity for your students? Two free resources available to students and teachers are Khan Academy and TenMarks (for math). Remember to also encourage the use of JiJi all summer long.

By: Nicol Howard

SAUSD Technology Security Tip

Change your email password at least twice a year and make it complex. A good password should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Remember to include at least 8 characters and avoid common words and proper names. One way to make your password complex is to base it on a word in a world language other than English with a least 8 letters, avoiding common words and proper names. Just add a number, a symbol, and a capital letter or two as you go. For example, the word for ‘animal’ in Armenian is կենդանի. In English, it is pronounced ‘gen-ta-nee’. So, one option for a password may be ‘2Gentanee$’.

For other password generation methods or to learn how to change your SAUSD email password, contact Technology Innovation Services at 714-480-4702.

By: Emil Ahangarzadeh

Email For Students Coming Next Year

We are excited to announce that for the new school year, SAUSD will be providing email addresses for student use across the district (with some restrictions). Students will be able to email one another as well as their teachers using our new Google Apps for Education domain--- Staff and faculty will still have access to their Microsoft Exchange account ( but will be able to connect with students via a new email address designed specifically for that purpose ( Plus, all of your Google Drive content (i.e. docs, slides, spreadsheets) will transfer over to your new Google account seamlessly. Of course, the district’s various technology units will be providing plenty of support and training regarding this new enhancement later this summer and throughout the school year.

By: Ricardo Enz & Emil Ahangarzadeh

Gadgets & Gizmos

Technologists work with so many different tools, it’s sometimes challenging to keep up with what’s new. Below are a few featured items you may be interested in. NOTE: Santa Ana Unified School District is not endorsing the purchase or use of these tools. This is an informational/entertainment piece only. Proceed at your own risk…

By: Emil Ahangarzadeh

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Our Take...

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, the lawn mower is broken and I am grabbing the keyboard to surf the web.

Plug Into Technology

is a publication of three SAUSD departments:

  • Learning Innovation with Technology
  • Technology Innovation Services
  • 21st Century Learning