DT&L Bytes

Digital Teaching and Learning @PCHS │ January 16, 2018

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Balancing Tech in the Classroom

Digital tools are intended to support the teaching and learning that is happening in the classroom.

They are tools, that’s all. They don’t replace the teacher or bring some magical force into the classroom. They definitely don’t mean more than the relationship the teacher has with their students. That relationship is one of the most crucial factors affecting student achievement. They do have a place in instruction and that place isn’t the backpack nor is it in front of their faces for the entire class period. That place lives in a balance weighed between the learning targets and how we can best help students find their way to those targets.

Technology does come with negatives. That’s why planning, preparation, and intentional use are so important. That intentional use provides many positives, too! Here are some examples of what tech can do:

  • Allow for deeper investigations by providing quick access to information (and good lessons as to whether or not that information is reliable and valid).
  • Open the door to more creative output.
  • Collaborate with others within and outside of the classroom doors.
  • Improve the workflow.
  • Provide more accessibility options for those who would benefit from them.
  • Access authentic documents and sources.
  • Access real-time information.
  • Provide faster formative feedback.

The opportunities are exciting!

There is a learning curve when searching for that balance. It’s about understanding how the various digital tools function and what you can do with them. Taking notes, reading and submitting work are just a few examples of what might look different using a digital device. You may need to reach out for some help and even accept that your students might be able to teach you. That’s OK. Find what works for you.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Walk around the classroom.
  • Be present with your students.
  • Find out which tools your students like to use.
  • Have your students demonstrate how they use their favorite tool.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn with your students.
  • Observe other teachers.
  • Reach out to one of the instructional coaches for input and help with planning.
  • Co-teach with an instructional coach.
  • Keep building those positive relationships with your students.
  • Take a risk. Try something new.
  • Don’t try everything new all at once. One step at a time.
  • It’s OK when things go wrong. Nothing is perfect. We learn a great deal when things don’t go according to plan.

We can’t hide from technology, it isn’t going away. Let’s harness the good and work towards teaching our students how to use the devices that surround them in meaningful ways. Let’s work together!


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Take a Selfie and Find Your Doppelgänger

Want to find out who your fine art Doppelgänger is? Try out Google's Arts & Culture app! The latest update added a selfie feature that is supposed to match you with a portrait from some of the most famous museums. Have fun!

Google Arts & Culture in the iTunes store

Google Arts & Culture in the Google Play store

Tool Time - Google Docs, More Powerful Than You Think!

Google Docs is not a "lite" word processing tool. It has many powerful features that you might not be aware of. Check out these features:

  • Outline View
  • Revision history - great when a collaborator accidentally deletes some material
  • Explore - define words and research topics without leaving the doc
  • Force a copy - share your docs, but “force” a copy so that your original work isn’t altered
  • Voice typing
  • Suggestions - works like Track Changes in Word
  • Tagging - tag someone in a comment and they'll be notified. Let a collaborator know there something they need to see or fix.
  • Easy Accents - no need to learn Alt codes, there’s a button view for your special characters
  • Templates- Google’s and your own
  • Create your own shortcuts
  • Searchable keyboard shortcuts
  • Use Bookmarks to create a Table of Contents
  • Add-ons galore
  • And more!

Interested? Curious? Stop by the Collaboration Room during either lunch on Friday and we'll explore these features.

Which Digital Tools are You Using?

We've had a lot of freedom at Pine Creek regarding the tools we choose to use. We'd like to continue having you, the experts, continue to be the ones choosing the tools your students use. That's why we are asking you to partner with us.

Partner with us and help us ensure your tools for classes, teams, clubs and activities are approved and ready for to use when you need them. PLAN AHEAD. Visit Pine Creek's Resource List; it includes the resources submitted by you. Don't see the one you'd like to use? Visit the District database. Still don't see your resource? Fill out the Digital Tool Application and we'll get it submitted to District IT for approval. Once the tool is approved, we'll update our list and inform you. This process takes time, especially if a purchase needs to be made.

Please be patient with us and the District as we embark on this new process. The District database is continually being updated as is our own resource list. Our goal is to ensure you have the resources you need while protecting our students' privacy.

Have questions? Contact anyone of your Digital Resource Team members, Susan, Sasha or Steve.

What can your Digital Learning Coach do for you?

  • Share with you what tools we have available to you and your students
  • Show you how to use the tools we have
  • Push out course-specific apps to you and your students
  • Co-teach with you so that you can focus on the content and I can focus on the tool and any digital issues
  • Trouble-shoot issues, iPad and Desktop
  • Share our Vision and what it means as we travel down the road towards making that it real
  • Help you plan and reflect on lessons using digital tools
  • Provide Digital Citizenship tips and resources

I'm here to serve you!