OS Educational Technology News

January 2016

Happy New Year! My hope for 2016 is that it will bring powerful learning experiences to your classrooms, schools and districts every day and that in some way, big or small, I can play a part in that!

This issue of the newsletter contains information about Hour of Code in Oakland County, a free coding workshop opportunity for elementary teachers, a link to a draft of the refreshed ISTE technology standards for students, information about the new National Educational Technology Plan, registration information for a free webinar on using Google Classroom for blended learning, links to webinar recordings to learn about how some MeL databases can be integrated with Google Drive and Google Classroom, Election 2016 lesson plans from PBS NewsHour, access to the archive of Discovery's "Racing Extinction" event, and more!


Hour of Code Update

Oakland County's participation in Hour of Code in December was overwhelmingly successful! Teachers at all levels and subject areas provided their students with opportunities to explore coding. In many cases district-level personnel supported Hour of Code by team teaching with classroom teachers and facilitating after school sessions.

A few pictures of a very small portion of the learning and fun are shared below.

Free Coding Workshops for Elementary Teachers!

Following the excitement of "Hour of Code," many of you may want to take advantage of a free opportunity to become more comfortable with computer science and coding and how to bring it into your classroom on a regular basis. Code.org is providing free, face-to-face professional development workshops for elementary educators all around the world, including our local area. The workshops are held on Saturdays and last 6-7 hours. Attending one of the workshops will prepare you to teach the Code Studio courses for grades K-5. The workshops are facilitated by experienced computer science educators.

In addition to the learning, workshop attendees will receive a bag of Code.org swag, a printed curriculum guide containing course lesson plans, a certificate of completion, and classroom supplies for the unplugged activities!

The locations and dates for the workshops being held in our area are listed below. Click on the location to register to attend at that site.

If attending one of the face-to-face workshops won't fit into your schedule, or you teach older students, you can still learn more about computer science and coding via a free online course provided by Code.org.

Draft of Refreshed Technology Standards for Students

On January 7, 2016, ISTE released the first draft of the refreshed 2016 ISTE Standards for Students! Check it out! If you would like to compare the draft to the current student standards you can access those by clicking here.

New National Technology Plan!

The new National Education Technology Plan was adopted in December 2015. It offers a vision and roadmap for technology-supported learning. The full document (106 pages) is available for download here.

edSurge posted a quick-read, overview of the plan shortly after it was released. You can access that by clicking here.

eSchool News did a nice job of summarizing the recommendations contained in the new plan. The recommendations, in the words of eSchool News reporters, are listed below.

  1. Create an anywhere, anytime learning environment that’s equally accessible to all students.
  2. Incorporate learning science design principles into ed tech resources.
  3. Work backwards so that learning technology resources and methods lead to the desired student learning outcomes.
  4. Design a rubric that helps educators determine which learning resources work for their students so that all of them have an equal opportunity to access the resources.
  5. Build learning communities of various stakeholders who can evaluate and provide access to instructional materials.
  6. Help develop incoming and long-time educators with professional development designed to encourage their use of technology as they improve student learning.
  7. Provide online instruction for students in subjects that they may not be able to access at their home school site.
  8. Train educators to teach in blended and online learning formats.
  9. Establish technology competencies for teachers and professors.
  10. Connect strategic planning initiatives across various education levels as educators try to improve learning with technology.
  11. Collaborate with various stakeholders to set a vision for technology-enabled learning.
  12. Use openly licensed content and figure out how to sustain technology purchases.
  13. Pull together communities of practice for education leaders.
  14. Revamp privacy practices and policies around sharing assessment data.
  15. Develop dashboards and other systems that give stakeholders access to assessment data.
  16. Try out a system to make better assessments across academic disciplines.
  17. Research the effectiveness of interactive assessment technologies.
  18. Set up equitable high-speed broadband access and wireless connectivity at school, making sure that students can also access these resources at home.
  19. Figure out how to make sure every student and educator has enough tech tools to learn.
  20. Draft sustainable funding plans for mobile devices and wireless access.
  21. Track connectivity, device access and use of openly licensed educational resources throughout the country.

Free Webinar: Using Google Classroom for Online Blended Learning

The REMCAM Michigan Learns Online portal team is providing a free webinar, "Using Google Classroom for Online Blended Learning," on January 20, 2016 from 4:00pm - 4:45pm. Malena Schrauben and Collin Nuismer, middle school teachers from the Portage School District are the presenters. Topics will include:

  • Blended learning and how Google Classroom supports it
  • Google Classroom from the Student and Teacher Perspectives
  • Tools that work well with Google Classroom

To register: Go to http://tinyurl.com/LearnMLO2015-16

Under “Webinar Date and topic” select: January 20, 2016 at 4PM - Using Google Classroom for Online Blended Learning.

How to participate: This Webinar is a live facilitated web based learning opportunity that is easy to participate in requiring that the learner have a computer with an Internet connection. Connecting information will be sent to you when you register.

For more information email Mike Souden at: mksouden@gmail.com

News from Michigan eLibrary

Gale Cengage, a Michigan eLibrary (MeL) database provider has entered into a partnership with Google to integrate use of Google Drive and Google Classroom into some of the resources available through MeL. Recently, they offered live webinars on how to use the Google tools now with the "Research In Context" database and soon with the InfoTrac databases. The webinars were recorded and are now available for viewing. The recordings are only 30 minutes long and well worth watching to learn about how to get your students using Google tools with the databases!

Note: The database resources are available only to Michigan residents or via Michigan library access.

PBS NewsHour - 2016 Election Lesson Plans

PBS NewsHour has provided several very good lesson plans on Presidential Election 2016, complete with materials, for grades 7-12. Most of the lesson plans are designed to take 2-3 class periods to complete. Below are links to some of them.

Discovery Streaming

Archive Now Available for the

Racing Extinction #StartWith1Thing VFT

Take your middle school and high school students on an inspirational journey from the Smithsonian's National Zoo to explore the science behind anthropogenic mass extinction and meet those dedicating their lives to saving species and transforming communities along the way. From whale sharks to golden lion tamarins to scarlet macaws, your classroom will get an insider's view of cutting-edge conservation efforts and in the process, realize their potential to make a difference.

View Archive Today

Continue the conversation with your students on the importance of biodiversity with interactive lesson plans and classroom activities. Interactive lessons are aligned to national stan dards and feature video clips from the acclaimed documentary Racing Extinction.

Access Resources

Discovery Streaming: Videos and So Much More!

Workshop at Oakland Schools - Friday, January 29, 2016

Time: 8:30 AM - 2:45 PM

Cost: $20 for Oakland County Educators - $40 for out-of-county (Lunch will be provided)

Presenter: Laura Cummings, Educational Technology Consultant

Prerequisite Knowledge: Must have a Discovery Streaming Subscription. All Oakland County Public School Districts, except for Oak Park, have subscriptions as do some private schools and charter schools.

Audience: Elementary, middle school and high school teachers, media specialists and other interested educators

SCECHs: 5 ($10 processing fee)

Description: This hands-on, minds-on workshop will provide you with exciting and enriching professional development, focused on creative ways to maximize your Discovery Education STREAMING subscription, emphasizing instructional best practices for digital media. Whether you are new to Discovery Education STREAMING or you are an “every day, every lesson” user, this workshop will provide you with creative ways to motivate students; engage higher order thinking; support retention and transfer; and achieve learning and curriculum goals with a myriad of creative integration strategies for using Discovery Education media assets. This workshop will begin with the basics and will move on to explore how to use Discovery Education resources to create interactive lesson plans that support all curricular areas while differentiating instruction. You’ll leave feeling empowered to create rigorous and relevant, media-infused learning experiences that support all learners! We will have PC laptops available for use, but feel free to bring your own device. Note: Educators who work in an Oakland County public school or district can have the costs for a substitute reimbursed up to $100.

Click here to Register!!

Free Online Course to Learn to Use "Plickers!"

"Plickers - A Simple Tool for Formative Assessment"

Free online course from Oakland Schools Educational Technology!

Time: Begin and end any time between November 9, 2015 and June 15, 2016!

Instructor: Laura Cummings, Educational Technology Consultant

Prerequisite Knowledge: None

Audience: Elementary, middle school and high school teachers, media specialists and other interested educators

SCECHs: 4 ($10 processing fee)

Description: Plickers is a free app for iOS and Android devices that lets teachers collect real-time, formative assessment data without the need for student devices. Students use printed cards that are associated with specific students via numbers on the cards. Each card also has the answer choices A, B, C and D. The teacher displays a question and possible responses via a computer connected to a projector or other large screen display. Students hold up their cards with the answer choices they choose at the tops of their cards. The teacher then uses a smartphone or tablet with the Plickers app to scan the classroom and capture the students’ responses. Some data about student responses is displayed right on the teacher’s device. All data is automatically saved in the teacher’s account at Plickers.com and is accessible via the Plickers Reports. Plickers can be used for pre-assessments, checks for understanding, polls or class surveys, tickets out the door, review, and more. If you would like to get started using Plickers in your classroom, sign up for this free, self-paced, online course. You will be guided, via video and text-based tutorials, through all of the steps needed to set up and use this tool. It is expected that it will take 4 hours to complete the course. This includes the time you will spend using Plickers for the first time with a group of your students.

Click here to register!

Stay Up to Date with the Oakland Schools Information Center!

The Oakland Schools Information Center Newsletter contains information on apps, new books in the collection, MeL database features and other topics related to literature and technology. Past issues of the newsletter are archived on the Information Center web page.

If you would like to receive the IC Newsletter contact Judy Hauser at judy.hauser@oakland.k12.mi.us and ask to be added to the IC Newsletter list.

To receive more frequent updates from the Oakland Schools Information Center, be sure to follow the Oakland Schools IC Twitter feed at: https://twitter.com/osinfocenter


Oakland Schools Educational Technology Twitter posts can be found at: os_edtech

When you are posting to Twitter about things related to educational technology, don't forget to use the hashtag: #oakedtech

Using the hashtag will help all of us Oakland County educators, who are interested in the effective use of educational technology, to connect and better collaborate with each other.

Oakland Schools Educational Technology Consultants

Laura Cummings



Judy Nichols