What The Tech? 02/2016

Wekiva's Koality Tech Newsletter by Janine McGrath

Trying something new

As you know I love trying new technology. I began this flyer using Adobe Slate and moved to Smore. I am trying Smore for free for a while to see how much l like it. If you are interested in getting a trial version go to smore.com. Smore gives me the opportunity to embed videos, photos, etc. Whereas Adobe Slate requires me to give you a link to videos.

Adobe Slate is a free program that can help you easily make newsletters, books, etc. You can quickly add pictures and text (including text-to-speech using a microphone)., and you can use it on a tablet or the computer! You will need to sign up for an account before you begin using the program. Students can create their own stories or presentations in formats that can easily be shared. To learn more about Adobe Slate link below.

Feel free to give me feedback on Smore.

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Technology on Campus

Laptops Oh My!

We will be receiving just over 60 Lenovos from the district as part of the equalization project. We will divide these laptops onto three carts and place them in grade level areas.

Kindergarten has 6 iPads that were given to them for the coding project and one kindergarten class has received 4 iPads are part of a separate project.

1st grade will receive the Lenovo cart that we already have on campus.

2nd, 3rd and 4th grades will receive a Lenovo cart with approximately 21 Lenovos on each cart.

5th grade has the existing laptop cart and Julie uses one laptop cart for robotics.

The Lenovos are touch screen and each team will need to order cleaning cloths for the screens with grade level money. As usual, all food and drink must be kept away from student desks when they are using these devices. Also, please ensure that students shut down these devices when they have finished with them, otherwise you will have issues when you attempt to turn them on.

Please contact me you need help navigating the system, or introducing these devices to your students.

Finally, one caveat about these devices. One person on your team must be responsible for turning on every single laptop on these carts every Thursday morning so they can receive the updates. There is nothing more frustrating that opening up a laptop and not being able to use the program effectively because they have missed the updates.

I am working with Information Services to find ways to push updates to laptops when they are turned on as they can presently miss updates if they are not on during the updates. If you are not sure how you can take advantage of using these laptops with your students contact me.

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Annual Refresh of Computers

We will also receive laptops as part of our annual refresh. The laptops will replace the old Dell 620s. We will not be removing the Dell 620s from your classrooms at this time as we need to use them for testing and require them to be hardwired to receive updates until testing time.

Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade will receive Lenovo touchscreen laptops to replace their Dell 620s. Grades 3 - 5 will receive HP laptops. We felt that grades 3 -5 need more robust devices to enable them to complete the assignments and tasks traditionally assigned in these grade levels. Don't forget that grades 3 and 4 will have a cart of Lenovos that are touchscreen laptops if you want that level of interactivity.

We will remove the Dell 620s from your room once we have a testing location set up. I will label each 620 that will be used from testing and removed it from your room prior to testing. Students may use the Dell 620s until we remove them, however please ask them not to make any changes to the screens or download anything onto these computers.

Please do not feel that the laptops have to remain at the back of your room. The purpose of giving you laptops is so the students can use them at their desks. Please spend a little time showing the students how to log on and log off, and how to correctly carry them. I tell students they must close the lid and hold it with a hand on each side of the laptop as they move throughout the room. Please assign a student to turn on the laptops every Thursday to receive updates.

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We have recently purchased two Osmos to use in classrooms. What is an Osmo you ask? Osmo works with an iPad to create a unique hands-on learning opportunity for students. An iPad connects to the Osmo and the student uses provided manipulatives which reflect on the the iPad.

We will be trialling this tool in one of the kindergarten classrooms tracking how the students interact with the tool and how it impacts instruction and learning. I will let you know when we are ready to checkout the second kit.

The kit comes with a Numbers, Tangrams, Words, Masterpiece and Newton games. If you check out a kit please make sure you go over procedures with your students about how to use the equipment properly before you begin to use this wonderful new tool. You are responsible for returning all pieces, including the iPad in the same condition as it was when you checked it out. If you are curious about this new tool watch the video below and contact Janine to schedule a play session.

Osmo in Schools

Media Center News

New Books and Other News

We have just ordered new books for our media center! We have ordered a collection for fiction books for those students who are progressing towards chapter books but are not quite ready for the fiction area of the media center. We have also ordered a number of non-fiction books that range from easy to more difficult text.

We will receive a free iPad mini and iPad Air with this order. I will let you know when these iPads will be ready for check out to use with students. As usual, you will be expected to ensure that students use these devices correctly and ensure that food and drinks are not in the vicinity of these devices. We will share the new titles with you when they come in.

We are not only planning new equipment and furniture for our new Learning Commons, we are also exploring new ways to use this space. I am excited about all the possibilities that will be available to us!

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FETC 2016

Great Sessions

Sarah Cornett, Amanda Kupaci, Lexie Llamas, Zinthia MacFarlane and I had the pleasure of attending FETC this year. We were very busy attending a wide variety of workshops by dividing and conquering. FETC was amazing this year with all of us returning with our heads full of ideas. We will be sharing the best sessions with you in the near future!

FETC Report from Janine

I am so excited about the many things I saw at FETC this year. I attended sessions on Augmented Reality (AR), gaming, coding, robotics, STEM labs, media center ideas, Minecraft, technology leadership and BrainPop Certification. I am busy getting apps downloaded and gathering various materials that accompany these tools and will be approaching teachers to try these ideas.

I know that many of you love BrainPop and I am here to tell that you will be excited when we move to My BrainPop. I am working with district and BrainPop folk to have everyone loaded in the program. Once I have everyone loaded into the program I am going to show you how to set up a class and use all of the great features within BrainPop that you may not have known are there. Why is this exciting? BrainPop has new tools and you will be able to track student progression through tools that you assign to them.

Augmented Reality (AR) is getting better each year and I had the pleasure of attending a session presented by some amazing 1st grade teachers from Virginia. I will begin exploring various ways we can use AR in the classrooms. As always, it is not simply using the tool because it is cool, it is important to know exactly where the tool will enhance instruction.

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Maker Spaces

You may be beginning to hear about Maker Spaces where students are "provided with hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering. A possible range of activities might include cardboard construction, protyping, woodworking, electronics, robotics, digital fabrication, textiles and sewing." (Edutopia).

If you want to learn more about creating in Maker Spaces view the video below from SuperAwesome Sylvia. She is only 12 years old!

Squishy Circuits -- Sylvia's Mini Maker Show

SuperAwesome Sylvia

Super Awesome Sylvia is a 12 year old who has her own YouTube videos about Maker Spaces. Do you want to learn more from Sylvia about what your students could make? Visit her website and watch the videos.

Even better, let your students watch the videos and plan what they need to complete the project; then give them some time to build it. As we remodel the school we are thinking about providing Fab Labs (Fabrication Labs) where you can come in to use it as a computer lab, use it for coding or robotics, as a space for hands-on math or science, as a space for projects, and of course as a Maker Space. The possibilities may be endless. We will keep you up-to-date on the development of these labs.

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Are you looking for primary resources for your students to use? Have you tried the Library of Congress?

Have you tried Newseum ED?

Newseum ED is a great resource of news articles throughout time that your students can use while completing projects. You will also find virtual training opportunities for teachers and students, lesson plans, artifacts, activities relating to events and media literacy.

Go into our Tech PD course in eCampus and the Social Studies Module to explore resources or contact Janine if you would like to schedule a time to explore these resources.

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Edheads Weather Activity

Are you teaching students about weather?

Want a new way to teach this concept in a way that engages students and is fun?

Are you looking for games-based teaching?

The Edheads Weather Activity is a great way to teach these concepts. Students can learn to report and predict weather using this game. Edheads also provides you with a Teacher Guide to help guide you through the process. Contact Janine and Julie if you would like some help planning and implementing this program in your classroom.

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Edheads has a number of activities you can engage your students in STEM activities that range from simple machines to crash scene investigations.

I had a bit of fun designing a cell phone for senior citizens. I had to listen to what the client needed, read data, virtually design the cell phone and then look at sales results. What a great lesson for our students! You don't have to provide anything except a laptop, the program provides the data and interactivity for you.

Contact me if you like to explore using any of these activities with your students. Together we can plan the lesson and determine the best way for students to display their products.

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Augmented Reality

Have you ever wondered how to create more interactivity in your classroom?

Try Augmented Reality (AR). There are a number of free AR apps that are available for the iPhone and Android devices. I had fun creating a tornado, a dancing skeleton, and space craft in my family room! I have created a module within our eCampus course called Augmented Reality and have included a number of Augmented Reality apps for you to use. Many of the apps are free but do require you to print targets