Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE
It's Game Time!
Everyone Can Code
We were excited to have Bruce Ahlborn, Apple Professional Learning Specialist, in the district two times this month for Everyone Can Code training. The Building Technology Coordinators (K-8), Instructional Coaches, and HAL teachers attended. During the training, attendees learned the importance of coding and its application with curriculum subject matter. Attendees learned the coding curriculum by participating in a jigsaw activity where they each shared a lesson from a section of the Everyone Can Code iBook.
In addition to the workshop content, we personalized the training to meet our own district needs by adding a guest speaker and a robot playground. On the first day of the workshop, guest speaker, Michael Feldmann, high school senior and app developer, shared his coding testimonial. Teachers enjoyed hearing his story and felt his passion for coding as he delivered his message. The message that resonated with all of us was the necessity to provide coding opportunities for our students and the need to start now.
On the second day of the workshop we had a coding playground in the afternoon. All attendees were provided the opportunity to experiment with coding robots. Together they learned the basics of programming Dash, creating a maze out of PVC pipe, and creating a program to make Dash move through the maze. We wrapped up the robot playground with stations containing Osmos, Spheros, and Drones programmed and controlled by the Tynker and Tickle apps.
Teacher Tuesdays is a new program rolled out by Apple this year, so I thought I would check it out! I signed up for the GarageBand workshop. Since, Garageband is an app I haven’t used much, I thought this would not only be a great opportunity to learn more about the app, but would also be fantastic to check out Teacher Tuesday too!
When I rolled into the Apple Store, I discovered I was the only one signed up! I enjoyed learning in my personalized GarageBand class. The session was very informative and provided a lot of time for creation, which I love.
The hour and a half flew by and I learned how to create my own song and how to record a narration with my song in the background. We used the Apple Teacher Garageband iBook as a guide. The iBook is easy to follow and the tutorials are excellent.
I discovered there is so much potential for using GarageBand in the classroom. I was amazed at how quickly I had my own song created and how much fun it was to use different voices to read a poem. could easily picture students using GarageBand in endless ways with the curriculum.
I would encourage you to give Teacher Tuesday at the Apple Store a try! There’s a new topic each month. The next Teacher Tuesday is October 3 on Encouraging Creativity with GarageBand, from 4:45 - 6:15 PM. To look for future upcoming classes or to sign up for a class, click here.
BlendED Playbook: Targeting Instruction with Data
As teachers we know the importance of using formative assessments but often these assessments are not meaningful due to the lack of timeliness. However, there are a number of tools that allow teachers to get real time data they can use to target instruction in the moment. Teachers can then make informed decisions in the moment and adapt the lesson to the needs of individual students.
In a blended learning environment, teachers use technology tools daily to gather formative data and use this data during the same instructional block to target individual learning needs. Here are three of our favorite tools and how we use them to target instruction.
Research shows that timely and immediate feedback has a significant impact on learning. Classkick is an iPad app which allows teachers to see every student iPad screen, privately provide feedback while students are working, and has a feature where students can raise a virtual hand. This tool is transforming how teachers deliver content and provide feedback to students from anywhere in the room.
Nearpod is a technology tool which allows teachers to control the content delivery from his/her device and the material appears on any student device; tablet, phone, or computer. The formative component allows teachers to embed quizzes, polls, a draw feature, and open ended responses into the lesson which is curated into a report.
For example, Angie Ellis, second grade teacher at Betz Elementary in Bellevue Public Schools, Bellevue, NE, gathers her second graders on the rug in a circle, sits with them, and presents the new math concept to all of their iPads at the same time. She uses the draw feature to collect formative data daily. Students use the pen tool to draw responses and send it back. Teachers immediately see the data and student work is shared back to all student screens in just a click. This is a powerful way for students to see peer responses and explain their reasoning. Ellis uses this data to pull small groups of students for reteaching and remediation during the same instructional block.
Our textbooks come with test banks for pre-tests, post tests and chapter quizzes and tests. Using the assessment feature in Schoology allows us to import the test banks and automate the test process. With the tests graded electronically, the assessment/feedback gap is reduced. Valorie Sailors, high school calculus teacher, uses the Schoology assessment feature regularly. She routinely gives her students multiple attempts on formative assessments so they can use the data to change impact how they are studying and to prepare students for the AP exam. Data in students hands is powerful.
For elementary students, teachers access the tests from Pearson Successnet. Students often take the exams with pencil paper and then use the electronic exam from Successnet to put in their answers. Their initial scores are automatically recorded in Successnet when they submit their exam. The students also have the immediate feedback on their test performance and use the time immediately after taking the exam to correct their mistakes. When they hand in their test papers, they had them in with the corrections attached. With the immediate feedback, students can now focus on learning from their mistakes while the exam is still fresh in their minds.
There are also a number of other tools that our teachers use to collect formative data including Quizizz, Socrative and Kahoot. These tools allow our teachers to collect data to use for a variety of things including grouping students, reteaching the lesson, and/or enriching the lesson. Formative data is a key component used in our blended learning classrooms in Bellevue Public Schools.
Need to send an email but at a later time/date? Want to get rid of an email in your inbox but you know you will need it down the road? The Google Chrome Extension, Boomerang, is your solution. By installing this add-on you can compose an email and then schedule a date and time that it is sent. The best part is how easy Boomerang makes this process. Once it has been installed, you will see a Send Later button directly below the normal Send button. Simply click the Send Later button and you are given the opportunity to send the email whenever you choose. Boomerang also allows you to get rid of a received message and bring it back whenever you need it. This add-on allows you to plan ahead and stay organized all in one. You can find the extension here.
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Our Blog is on the Move!
The Tech Trio’s Technology Tools for Teaching blog has moved to a new location! Why is this important? Many of you subscribed to our old blog and will now need to subscribe to our new one. If you haven’t subscribed to our blog make sure to click on the link below and click FOLLOW on the right side of the page. This will send our new blog posts directly to your email to keep you up on all the things happening with technology in Bellevue Public Schools.Click here to access our Technology Tools for Teaching blog!
Hashtags Telling Our Story
One of the most powerful parts of Twitter is the hashtag! It connects people, ideas, and creates communities within Twitter. It is a unique way for our teachers and administrators to share the amazing things happening in our schools, classrooms, clubs, teams and organizations. Our district hashtag, #bpsne, continues to grow and is becoming a powerful tool that we can leverage as a district to connect all of our teachers, students, parents, and community members. We encourage you to continue sharing the great things happening in your classrooms. Here is a list of all of the Bellevue Public School educators on Twitter. Let's create the 2016-2017 Bellevue Public Schools story together!
District Instructional Technology Specialists
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