#BRESA Tech Tips
November is almost over, and it's a great time to recap what has happened this month around Berrien County! We have been as busy as ever helping educators around the area explore computer science, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and SO much more! The passion of educators to explore innovative ideas with their students is absolutely awe inspiring. All of you deserve a HUGE pat on the back as we begin to close in on winter break. Our December newsletter will hit your inbox just before the holiday recess and will contain ideas and activities you can use with students to keep them engaged in learning during that final week of school in 2023.
Computer Science Week is also coming up in December. This week holds significance for students in Michigan as it provides a valuable opportunity to promote and celebrate the importance of computer science education in their daily lives. Michigan, like many other states, recognizes the critical role that computer science plays in preparing students for future careers and fostering skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. It is our hope that many of you will use this week to serve as a platform to inspire students to explore the exciting possibilities within the field, encouraging them to consider pursuing careers in CS. We have many resources available to assist you with this endeavor and are here to help.
We are continuously thankful for the amazing students and educators we get to work with throughout our area and look forward to working with more of you as we rapidly close in on the end of the year!
Amy & John
Computer Science in Education Week
Computer Science week is December 6 - 12, 2023. This week is designed to remind schools to include CS activities in their options for students. There are a couple of easy ways for you and/or your school to participate in CS Week:
- Host an hour of code in your classroom.
- Have your students try out activities on Code.org when they have free time.
- Sign up for a FREE Brilliant.com account for educators, and have your students try some of their coding activities.
- Try an OFFLINE computational thinking activity in your classroom.
- Share some of the artificial intelligence content from Common Sense Media.
These are just a few ideas out there to get started. If you want more information or help doing an activity for CS week, let John or Amy know.
SWMI Esports Fall Finals Recap
Over 100 esports athletes converged on Lake Michigan College on Saturday, November 18 for an intense day of esports action! The students were competing in Valorant and Rocket League. Year over year, the intensity and competition level in our area continue to expand!
In Valorant competition, South Haven took home their first title from SWMI Esports. The finals match featured Hartford going against the victorious Rams in a matchup that featured South Haven taking an early one game lead until the Huskies came roaring back to take game two. The third game was extremely tight, but South Haven came away with the victory!
In Rocket League, the most recent champion, Comstock, found themselves in a rematch with a Buchanan team whom they beat for the title in Spring 2023. This matchup did not disappoint as it was neck-and-neck throughout the match. Buchanan ended up taking the win after a sudden death overtime match that featured one of the most amazing goals we have seen in SWMI Esports history!
Congratulations to both teams and to ALL of the teams who participated this fall! If you or your school is interested in our spring season, reach out to John ASAP for more details!
Student Podcasting Challenge
Who: Students in 5th grade through 12th grade.
What: Have your students create an original 2-5 minute podcast. Students can create the podcast individually or as a group.
When: November 20, 2023 - January 9, 2024
How: Via Online Submission Form
Win: Podcasting Hardware!
Sponsored by: REMC, MACUL & MASL
Learn More: Contest Rules and Information
Share: Podcast Challenge Flyer
AI in Education
At the recent CS for Michigan conference, keynote speaker, Eric Curts, posed a thoughtful question in his opening address. Eric asked, "Who or what is the best teacher in the world? Is it a human? Or, is it a computer?" He went on to share that he has been studying and thinking about the impacts of Artificial Intelligence for quite some time. The idea behind his Bionic Educator keynote actually stemmed from his research and a blog post he wrote back in 2018. Eric captivated the room with his stories and examples of how technology and AI have evolved over the years. And, he made a compelling argument for why educators should embrace the technology we have available to answer the question posed at the beginning of his talk. The best teacher in the world isn't a computer. And, it's not a human. Instead, the best teacher in the world is a human using the technology available to transform learning. In short, a Bionic Educator. Be sure to check out the blog post link to read the full story and access the slide deck for his presentation.
If you are interested in expanding your learning around AI even further, our amazing colleague, Sarah Wood, at Kent ISD is one again offering EdTech Cheer in December. This year, the course will be all about AI in Education. This FREE, 12-day learning event fills up quickly, so register soon if you would like to enroll.
November Tech Tools
Consider the possibilities for multi-language learner students when they can see and hear their actual teacher speaking a lesson in their native language. We have seen several demonstrations of HeyGen and are completely astounded every time.
Check out the free trial where you can create your own digital avatar and start experimenting with the text to video features available..
Maureen has created two getting started videos if you would like to learn more.
Should you decide to explore and utilize SchoolAI, Maureen would love your feedback, as she is serving as an Learning Experience Designer for the company. You can email her at email@example.com
AI for Students
21 Things for Students is a comprehensive, FREE resource site designed to help middle grade (5th-9th) students use technology safely and effectively.
Whether you have your students complete one "thing" or all 21, you will certainly find valuable lessons and resources that can be used throughout the school year.
SWM School Library Leaders
This small but mighty group of school library personnel continues grow and collaborate. Earlier this month, several area educators gathered at Berrien RESA to explore resources and share ideas. A key feature of the evening was the state-wide REMC project, Promoting STEM through Literature. Berrien RESA has all of the titles offered by this project and can help you implement the connected STEM activities. Reach out to Amy if you would like more information.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 12. Please RSVP to the calendar invitation that will be sent to all of those who have subscribed to our Google group. If you would like to sign-up to receive emails and more information, please email Amy.
Coding with Drones Opportunity
DATE: February 12, 2024
LOCATION: Van Buren ISD and Conference Center, 490 South Paw Paw St., Lawrence, MI 49064
COST: Free for SWMichigan MiSTEM Educators (Berrien, Cass, VanBuren, Branch, Barry, Calhoun and Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Counties
REGISTER: Complete the registration form ASAP as space is limited
Statewide Professional Learning Opportunities
Register now for the 2024 MACUL conference, Powering a Learning Revolution, that will be held March 14-15 in Grand Rapids. Featured speakers include Cornelius Minor, Leslie Fisher, Eric Curts, Jennifer Hall, Michelle Emerson, Holly Clark and John Sowash.
A variety of pre-conference workshop sessions will be held on Wednesday, March 13. Please reach out if you have any questions regarding MACUL. We would love to see a large group of educators from SW Michigan in attendance.
The Michigan CS Consortia is offering Code.org CS Fundamentals (K-5) virtual workshops at no cost for Michigan educators. Participants will earn SCECHs and a $150 stipend.
There are several different dates to choose from. Visit the CS Fundamentals flyer to learn more and register. No computer science experience is required to attend. This opportunity is provided by MiSTEM Advisory Council grants.
REMC continues to offer free online courses each month where participants can earn up to 10 SCECHs. Visit the REMC Professional Learning page for more information.
Courses will begin on December 4 and include the following options and MANY MORE:
- Coding in the Classroom
- My Classroom in the Digital Age
- Using VR in Education
MACUL Awards & Leadership Applications
The 2024 MACUL Awards are now open for nominations. Visit macul.org/awards to learn more. Categories include Innovative Teacher, Innovative District, Innovative Leader, and Innovative Technology Professional. Nominations are due by January 9, 2024.
Applications are also open for MACUL Leadership positions. MACUL members may apply to serve on the Board of Directors or as a Learning Area Delegate. Visit macul.org/nominations to learn more. Applications are due by January 8, 2024.
STEM Resources Available for Check-Out
The Technology Services Department at Berrien RESA has a variety of STEM resources, equipment and materials you can check out for use in your classroom.
Visit our REMC Resource Webpage to learn more about the items that are available. To check out a resource, please complete the resource checkout form found on the webpage.
How can we help?
We would love to hear your suggestions on how we can best support you. Please complete this form if you have some ideas regarding content you would like to see in our newsletter or specific needs in your district. Also, please feel free to share this newsletter with others and if you are interested in subscribing, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Tech Tips". Finally, as always, feel free to contact John Phillips or Amy Dirlam directly for all of your educational technology needs.
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