VTSD Tech News

February Edition

A Note from the Tech Guy

Quarter three has begun - where does the time go!? There are some big things coming up in the near future but we also have started planning for the 16-17 school year with our tech budget. Looking even further forward, our Technology Committee just started meeting to help create our 2016-2019 Technology Plan for VTSD! A big THANK YOU to the 18 stakeholders who bravely volunteered (teachers, students, parents, coaches, board members, administrators and more)!


For this issue we decided to add a new component: multimedia - a 30-60 second training video from your supportive tech coaches! And now, on with the tech news...

So...Much...Technology...

I get it... we have learned so much new technology our brains might explode! And now that everyone is using technology sometimes things slow down but you need your fast interwebs right now - we know this! Here are a few things we will be doing to upgrade and optimize the wifi and network in the upcoming months:


  • Sorry Guests - To give priority to school devices, the guest network has been "throttled" so students (and guests) don't hog all the bandwidth
  • Access Points - In addition to adding more wireless access points, we are looking at upgrading them at the middle schools and high school (primary schools in the future)
  • More Bandwidth - To think only 2 years ago we only had 100MB! We hope to jump up to 1,100MB this summer (1.1GB dark fiber)
  • Remove Bottlenecks - Ron Harris is working with engineers to optimize our network in a number of ways - we think we should be able to speed things up as we move forward
  • Power School - We finished our migration to a new host. We hope Power School will A) seem faster and B) will not be go down any more (time will tell)

CHAMPION SPOTLIGHT: Cheryl Sargent, LH

This month's tech champion hails from Lounsberry Hollow, Cheryl Sargent! Cheryl was using Class Dojo to help her with classroom management but found the students were starting to get a little old for the Dojo. So Cheryl decided to GAMIFY her classroom using Classcraft (www.classcraft.com)!


Classcraft is a website that allows students to not only choose their avatars (like Class Dojo) but the students get to pick if they want to be a warrior, mage, or healer. They gain experience,"level up", and have "boss fights" just like a game. Classcraft encourages teamwork and the teacher can reward students for completed homework or class participation.


Cheryl started using Classcraft at the end of last school year and says her kids are really engaged! Great job, Dungeon Master... er Cheryl!

UPCOMING TRAINING

We continue to offer plenty of workshops in MLP! We have been trying to offer face-to-face workshops as well as online workshops! Take a look below!


In MyLearningPlan now:

2/18 HS 2pm - Schoology: Creating Graded Assessments & Assignments

2/23 GM 3pm- Make & Take: Kahoot (Online Gamified Review Tool)

2/25 GM 4pm - Twitter 101: Get Connected with Twitter

3/1 GM 4pm - Advanced Twitter: Planning your Own Personalized PD

3/1 Online 7pm - Google Classroom

3/8 Online 7pm - Making YouTube Work for You

3/15 Online 7:30pm - Let's Get Appy! Exploring Chrome Apps & Extensions


more on its way!


Keep an eye on MLP, more workshops will be announced soon!!! Don't forget, if you would like a one-on-one with a tech coach, just schedule time with Janet or Jackie via their Google Calendars!

Passwords eek

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2016-2019 Tech Plan

The tech committee only just started meeting but one of our biggest decisions is this: do we continue with one-to-one and if so, what grades are next? We are considering reaching down to 4th grade and up to 9th grade...but there are many things to consider.


Another big debate is BYOD at the high school. Kids want to bring devices, some teachers are willing to use them in the classroom, but right now only 23% of parents are willing to allow students to BYOD...so this is a longer conversation as well!


A few other hot topics are: communicating homework to parents/students, educating parents on tech tools that are available at home, and addressing inequality of tech at home. All are big conversations that we hope to find a way to address in the next three years. More will follow on this as the tech committee continues its discussions!


Quote of the Month...

"Teachers need to stop saying, 'Hand it in,' and start saying 'Publish it,' instead."

- Alan November