#iCONNECT Tech Tips

Friday, September 19, 2014 #EHSRedDevils

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Elkmont Connects the Dots for International Dot Day

On Monday, September 15, 2014 Elkmont High School made their global mark by participating in International Dot Day. Ms. Tessa Hardiman's 5th grade classes participated in several different activities for Dot Day, but the activity they loved the most was connecting with other students around the country who were celebrating Dot Day too!

Using Skype and Google Hangouts, students from Alabama, Georgia and New Jersey connected and shared information about what makes their school and town awesome. It was exciting to watch as these kids connected, shared, learned and grew together during our Dot Day activities. One really fun thing we did using Skype was Mystery Skype.

Mystery Skype is a 45-60 minute critical thinking challenge that your class takes part in while Skyping with another class somewhere else in the world. Your students' goal is to guess the other school's location (country, state, city, school name) before they guess yours.

Learn more about Mystery Skype and other ways you can use Skype in the Classroom click HERE.

In addition to our fun with Skype, students also made Dot Day Trading Cards and recorded their dots using FlipGrid. Learn more about our Dot Day activities HERE.

Elkmont BYOD Gets A Boost With Google Classroom & Khan Academy

Mary Jane Hobbs empowered her students to become masters of their own learning this week by introducing them to Khan Academy. Khan Academy enables students to practice math at your own pace with our adaptive assessment environment. You can start at 1 + 1 and work your way into calculus or jump right into whatever topic needs some brushing up.

Each problem is randomly generated, so you never run out of practice material. If you need a hint, every single problem can be broken down, step-by-step, with one click. If you need more help, you can always watch a related video.

Teachers and coaches can access all of their students' data. You can get a summary of class performance as a whole or dive into a particular student's profile to figure out exactly which topics are problematic. The coach reports let coaches glance at their dashboard and quickly figure out how to best spend their time teaching.

Ms. Hobbs also got her students started on Google Classroom and Google Drive. Students no longer have to worry about losing a USB Stick, not being able to access an assignment because it is on their computer at home, etc.

Classroom is available to anyone with Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools including Gmail, Docs, and Drive.

Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.

Students can keep track of what’s due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.

Elkmont 5th Graders Collaborate With Google Drive

Ms. Missy Bailey's 5th grade students embraced the power of collaboration using Google Slides to work on their Project Based Learning presentation. The kids were so excited as they worked on groups on their MacBooks but on the same Google Slides. It was exhilarating to watch Ms. Bailey's students as they shared, talked, engaged and produced their PBL slides in Google.

One of my professional goals is to help teachers use technology as an efficient and effective tool for student learning instead of using it as an add on to the end of a traditional unit of study. Google Drive tools are well-suited for use as a starting point to help teachers begin to break the barriers of traditional methods of tech integration and design student driven learning experiences that require students to construct knowledge as they create, an idea supported by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

The features available in Google Slides make it a useful tool for helping students begin to develop digital literacy and engage in the types of learning experiences suggested by the Common Core. With Google Drive tools like Slides, technology and research are seamlessly integrated into the learning process as students are engaged in problem solving, critical thinking, communication and creativity.

Anytime Anywhere Anyplace Professional Learning

One great thing about technology is the ability to learn anytime anyplace...even in your PJs! Elkmont High School's Instructional Technology Facilitator, Nikki D Robertson, has been creating video tutorials for technologies taught to teachers and students. Additionally, Ms. Robertson offers this service for other technologies that teachers or students would like to learn. Watch our list of video tutorial resources to grow through out the school year HERE.