What The Tech? 02/2016
Wekiva's Koality Tech Newsletter by Janine McGrath
Trying something new
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.
Technology on Campus
Laptops Oh My!
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.
Annual Refresh of Computers
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.
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.
Media Center News
New Books and Other News
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!
FETC Report from Janine
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.
If you want to learn more about creating in Maker Spaces view the video below from SuperAwesome Sylvia. She is only 12 years old!
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.
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.
Edheads Weather Activity
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.
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.
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
Tornado in my Family Room
Using an AR app I was able to create a tornado in my family room. People have taken photos with friends standing in the middle of the tornado!
I was able to bring up a dancing skeleton in my family room using an AR app. You will notice the skeleton even has a shadow!
This AR app gives students the opportunity to view spacecraft in 3D. Some will even let you unpack spacecraft!