EdTech Update

First Colonial High School 11.16.15

Canva with Mrs. Hocker's Latin II Students

Canva is an online design service that allows you to create beautiful posters, invitations, cards, website graphics or even multiple-page presentations. All you have to do is choose one of 11 available templates or start from a custom-sized blank canvas. You then use the Layouts and Background tabs to get a rough idea of what you want to design. These tabs are chock-full of options to choose from, whether you want a complete template or just a nice background to build on. Canva revolves entirely around intuitive controls such as drag-and-drop, so adding, removing, and editing elements on your canvas is almost a no-brainer. (from PCworld.com)

I recently worked with Mrs. Hocker and her Latin II students to create digital book jackets on Roman heroes using Canva. Students submitted a link to their digital copy of the book jacket which allowed Mrs. Hocker the opportunity to grade the assignments at home without lugging paper versions home with her. None of the students had prior experience with Canva, and most took to the program with no problems. Click here to see two of the finished book jackets.


Thomas and I have received additional training on Achieve3000 and the data the program collects. If you have not had a chance to use or see the data that Achieve3000 collects please let us know. We will gladly come by and provide personalized instruction. Below is a picture of the data that is collected by Achieve3000.

Students as Consumers of Instructional Technology

Mrs. Shoemake recently had her students complete a formative assessment using NearPod on the iPads. See the picture at right and the videos below for more information on this awesome platform!

Mrs. Grimes' students are using excel spreadsheets to calculate the Shannon-Wiener Diversity Index. Data was collected using the different makes of cars as individual species. The student parking lot was one ecosystem observed and the faculty was the other ecosystem.

Ms. Miekina's Earth Science students are also using NearPod to complete astronomy notes and quizzes.

Mrs. Disher's LSA English 10 students have been working in the Library on their Cause and Effect projects in preparation for Problem Solution papers in the Spring. They were introduced to InstaGrok (preresearch data collector) and reacquainted with the databases in the Library (Gale and ProQuest).

Mr. Bennett's and Mrs. Hines's students have been busy refining their nonfiction reading skill set and building their vocabularies with Achieve 3000/Vocabulary.com.

Ms. Jenkins students have been reviewing their mastery of Spanish vocabulary and grammar by playing Kahoot and using Quizlet.

Mrs. Hildum has been working with Ms. Lingua, Mr. Henry and Mrs. Hague to facilitate student participation in The Great Thanksgiving Listen through Storycorps.org. Students will interview an elder over Thanksgiving using the Storycorps App on a Smart Device. The resulting interview will be uploaded to The American Folk Life Center at The Library of Congress. High School students across the country are participating to capture the stories of a generation and contribute to the largest archive of human voices in the world.

Last week, Mrs. Hague's students received their arcgis accounts from ESRI. FC is fortunate to have an organization level account. This allows students to be real consumers of Geographic Information Systems and search gallery items for story maps and a variety of other layers of information.

Students as Creators with Instructional Technology

Ms. Fehn reports that Junior Lucas Anderton has lent his technical expertise to her Journalism II & III students showing them how to use Word Press so they can begin putting parts of The Towne Crier online. Check out the progress at http://firstcolonialhs.com/. The picture at the right is just after the students posted their first stories online!

Mrs. Knoche's Honors English 12 students are creating a visual representation of their lives as a quest (past, present, future), using their choice of Piktochart, Animoto, or Smore. The project depicts universal symbols or archetypes that convey emotions, personality traits, and goals.

Mrs. Dishers students will present their cause and effect projects using an online design app called Picktochart.

Ms. Jenkins' Spanish I students are preparing weather report presentations.

Ms. Miekina's students have used the Nearpod platform to submit drawings and diagrams as summative assessments.

Mrs. Hague's students created their first map using GIS. It was a simple map that included Crude Birth Rates and Education Levels. Her students also changed Gapminder charts and maps to show their choices of relationships of demographics, and formulated conclusions from what they observed.

Mrs. Spruill's Advanced Fashion students are using the 3D printer to create items for shoebox displays for her Visual Merchandising unit.


Students are using their personal devices to participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. They downloaded the App and built their interviews within the App.

Students have the option of using an iPad or their phone/computer to use Nearpod.

A student modeled how to get to student portal, check an assignment in Synergy and see the resources that were added to the assignment.

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What are YOUR Political Ideological Leanings??

I found Mr. Spruill and his class in the computer lab one day and I poked my head in to inquire about what they were working on. He indicated that his AP Government students were using the following online quizzes to help find their political ideological leanings. He reminds the students that they are researching their conservative/liberal leanings, not necessarily their political party preference. He has found quizzes from reliable sources such as UVa or Pew Research, or or with unique methodology such as iside.

Which 2016 Presidential candidate you side with?


Which political party do you belong to?


Are you a Steadfast Conservative? A Solid Liberal? Or somewhere in between? Take this quiz and find out which one of the Political Typology groups is your best match.


Take this Quiz and find out where you fit on the political map! http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz/quiz.php

Nearpod Overview

Get engaged with Nearpod!

How to Create a Nearpod Presentation

Getting Started with NearPod: Creating Presentations on Nearpod.com

TECH TIPS from Nicole DeGrouchy

INSTALLING CHROME AND UPDATING FLASH – Teachers and staff have the ability to install these commonly used programs to school workstations on their own. This link -

http://tsccmprdapp03/CMApplicationCatalog - lists programs employees can install without admin rights. However, Chrome, Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight are the only three programs that we suggest you should install on your own. If you think you have the need for any of the others, please consult the TST and ITS first.

CONVERTING PDFS TO WORD DOCUMENTS AND VICE VERSA – You do not need a special program to accomplish these handy tasks, your Microsoft Office 2013 program on all VBCPS computers will do it for you!

PDF2WORD - Open Word. Go to File>Open. Click on Computer. Navigate to the PDF file you wish to convert and select it. Word will then convert the .pdf into a Word document. Note: This only works if the pdf was created from a text based file, not an image based file. If it is an image based file (like a scan) no program will really do an adequate job converting.

WORD2PDF – With your Word document open, go to File>Save As. Click on Computer and navigate to where you wish to save the document. Type in the File name, and underneath, select PDF (*.pdf) from the Save as type dropdown menu. Click Save.