Life School Technology News: Vol. 2

Instructional Technology News from Around the District


The Technology department has officially launched the Instructional Technology Extranet Page on the District Site. The page is accessible by all Life School Staff and will be updated throughout the year with quality instructional tools from around the web.

What is the Hour of Code?

A one-hour activity. Students of all ages can choose from a variety of self-guided tutorials, from kindergarten on up.

A spark to keep learning computer science. Once students see what they create right before their eyes, they’re empowered to keep learning.

A global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 170+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. Tutorials are available in over 30 languages.

Last year, 15 million students tried an Hour of Code in one week. Join students all over the world for an Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14. The goal is for 100 million students worldwide to do an Hour of Code by the end of 2014! Resources available at

The Hour of Code is here

"The rise of Google, the rise of Facebook, the rise of Apple, I think are proof that there is a place for computer science as something that solves problems that people face every day." -Eric Schmidt

Upcoming Training: #EdCampAwesome

#EdCampAwesome is the ultimate learning festival for educators of all levels. It will follow the unconference model and be totally participant driven. Come to Royse City, TX on February 21st for an awesome day of learning, collaborating, and connecting!

EdCamps are UNconference events organized by groups of educators, specifically designed to create a participant-driven, fun-filled day of professional development.

Educators can connect with like-minded individuals, collaborate ideas, brainstorm solutions to common education problems, have group discussions, and receive information that can immediately be applied in the classroom.

Find out more at the links below:

Follow the event on Twitter!

Check out the Wiki (work in progress)

Find more EdCamps to attend:

Flipped-Learning Toolkit: 5 Steps for Formative Assessment

If you flip your class, you might be able to rid yourself of the bane of many teachers: grading papers late at night. Since the flipped classroom model moves teachers away from the "front of the room," they have more time to interact with students and implement a wide variety of instructional strategies -- including formative assessment.

Edutopia takes a look at five steps for formative assessments in a flipped classroom.


What is Edudemic? It is “a global community designed to keep educators, administrators, and everyone up to date on what is happening in the world of education and technology. It pulls from more than 100 different online educational resources to inform and connect.

If you want updates on the latest in education and technology news, check out

7 Ways to Deal With Digital Distractions in the Classroom

Some call today’s students “digital natives.” Others call them the “distracted generation.” Whichever term you prefer, it’s clear they’re both far more than labels: they capture the core conflict many of us involved in education — educators, parents, and even students — feel about the use of technology in the classroom.

To educators who embrace new technologies wholeheartedly, digital devices are a powerful tool for creating an engaged and individualized educational experience. To those that are a little more hesitant, digital devices seem more like a quick route to Instagram and Facebook — that is, to distractions that interfere with the educational experience, rather than boosting it. Most educators, however, believe both of these things at once and to varying degrees throughout the day, based on the types of classes and resources available to them, and, really, what time it is.

Within this debate, there’s only one thing that’s crystal clear: digital technology in the classroom is here to stay, whether it’s provided directly by the school or used surreptitiously by students on the sly. The question is not, “Should we allow digital devices in the classroom?”, it’s “Now that they’re here, how can we prevent digital devices from becoming a distraction?” Let’s take a look.

How to Create a Works Cited with Google Docs

App Spotlight: AnswerGarden

What is AnswerGarden?

AnswerGarden is a new minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback.

Who uses AnswerGarden?

AnswerGarden has many different users: classroom, conference and corporate audiences, creative teams, online crowds, mindmappers, and more!

Benefits of AnswerGarden

AnswerGarden fits educational, professional and creative purposes, is standalone and embeddable, and shows thousands of answers in a glance!

Check it out:

Free Resources

3 Places To Get Free Full-Text Scientific Studies

10 Free Google Chrome Extensions Teachers Should Try

3 Best Free Flashcard Apps for Students