Teaching with Tech Newsletter

Feb. 2019


Please be aware that there is a new virus going around the web that is a banking trojan virus. This virus has not hit anyone in DeKalb County as of right now. To make sure that it does not affect your information there are a few things you can do to protect your information.

1. Be very careful of what emails that you open. If you do not recognize the sender please DO NOT open the email just move it straight into your trash.

2. Carefully look at not just the sender's name but also look at the email address that it is coming from. This email can be disguised as something official, like a bank statement or an IRS document.

What's New?

Thanks to everyone that shared how they have been using Flipgrid in their classrooms. If you didn't get a chance to view the responses and ideas, click here. We had some really great and creative responses! If you would like, reply to any of the responses to get a discussion started. Also, congratulations to Sheri Carr on winning an iPad for her classroom!!!

In this edition of the Teaching with Tech newsletter, you are going to find information about becoming a Google Certified Educator, the Google Teacher Center, and this month's excellent edtech educator.

As always, if you have questions or need assistance with anything related to instructional technology, feel free to contact us. We are here to help!

Oh! Just in case you weren't satisfied with the amount of snow that we got last week I included a background image of what could have been... or at least what some of us thought was going to be!

Top-Notch Tech Tool - Google for Education Teacher Center

Ok, so while the Google for Education Teacher Center isn't a tech tool that your students will use directly, we believe that it will prove to be an invaluable resource, and will have a great impact on you as an educator and in turn, your students. In the Teacher Center, you will find training on a plethora of topics ranging from Google Classroom to Digital Citizenship to Tools for Diverse Learning.

For more information on the Teacher Center check out the video below.


Become a Google Certified Educator

In the Teacher Center, you can also find information about becoming a Google Certified Educator! On her blog, Shake Up Learning, Kasey Bell writes 10 reasons to be a Google Certified Educator. Becoming a Google Certified Educator will help you better implement the G Suite tools into your classroom.

Also, anyone that provides proof of completion will receive 6 PD credit hours for Level 1 certification and 8 PD credit hours for Level 2 certification.

If becoming a Google Certified Educator is something that you would like to do, please let us know. We would love to help get you started!

Google for Education Teacher Center

"Dedicated educators are lifelong learners. With that in mind, we've designed free, online training for the classroom that helps educators do what they do best, even better."

Excellent EdTech Educator

This month's Excellent Edtech Educator is Scott Cole. Scott teaches at Collinsville High School and has taken the reins on a major project in which he and his students are creating some really amazing work. Check out the interview to find out more...
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Hello Scott, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been teaching, what do you teach, etc?

I earned my B.S. Ed in Social Science (2000) and M.S. Ed in History (2002) from Jacksonville State University as well as graduate studies in History from the University of Alabama. I also earned National Board Certification AYA-SS in 2012. I have 17 years in education including two in post-secondary with Alabama Industrial Development Training in support of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC in Lincoln, AL and 15 in secondary. I taught from 2004-February 2017 at Piedmont City Schools and was a part of the implementation of their 1:1 Macbook laptop initiative in 2008-2009. During my tenure at Piedmont, I taught Early and Modern US History, Modern World History, Psychology, Contemporary Issues, and Beginning Guitar classes. I have taught with no textbook, only a textbook, blended with technology, to all online technology, and back in my tenure in education with many training classes on using technology in the classroom. I have been an adjunct with JSU teaching HY 201 for three years.

I started with Dekalb County Schools in March of 2017 located at Collinsville High School where I currently teach Modern US History, Government, Economics, and adjunct for NACC teaching HIS 201 and 202 Dual Enrollment.

Wow! That’s quite the resume you have. DeKalb County is very fortunate to have you working with our students at Collinsville! So, what is your favorite tech tool and why?

There is a myriad of tech tools available and they all have their purpose, therefore it is very hard to choose one in particular. I really like Google for classroom administration, assignments, providing links to relevant web content, accepting assignments, sharing documents, team-based and cooperative learning, project-based learning, and digital creation.

For example, I can use Google Classroom to assign teams, lesson standards and instructions, required tasks, links to necessary content, templates to create brochures, rubric for grading, and examples of student work. Students can research primary and secondary sources, annotate, share documents, discuss, and create the brochure required, all the while collaborating both in and out of the classroom. The students' final product is digital so it can be presented in class, printed, or shared with stakeholders or, in the case of solving current issues in Government class it can be shared with the public or representatives. I have begun to rely on Google Suite for almost everything.

One neat little site that almost all teachers can use is Fakebook to have students create fake Facebook pages for prominent people, key figures, organizations etc… It’s fun and easy to use. Post it on your Google Classroom with instructions and let them have fun. They will surprise you with their creativity...

Yes!!! And when used properly, G Suite products allow us and our students to be more effective and efficient. What are some other ways you have been able to use technology to impact your students?

I use available technology to differentiate instruction for learning styles, personalize learning for students at different levels as well as ELL and IEP students.

This year we have undertaken a grant project for #AL200 Bicentennial School of Excellence program. It is a year-long project in which students are researching all people buried in our local cemetery. We applied for online access to ancestryclassroom.com, newspapers.com, and fold3.com. By the way, all schools at DCS can access these for free as part of this grant if so inclined.

Our students are using these online tools to research the lives of past people in our community using census records, military records, death records, and family trees using all tools at our disposal. We have a Google Classroom for cooperation, Google Sheets for the statistics database, Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Photos. We are accomplishing cross-curricular sharing with History, English, Math, and Science classes to research, record, write life narratives, graph vital statistics of lifespans over time, causes of death, and infant mortality.

All of this would not be possible without the online availability of information and the sharing ability of Google Suite. They are also learning critical collaborative, research, genealogical, analytical, and technological skills to carry with them throughout their lives and prepare them for the workforce. Students are covering ALCOS standards for Edtech, Career Tech, Social Science, English, Anatomy, and Math. The data collected and analysis will be a vital resource for our community and will be shared in a published Google Site for public consumption, the Collinsville Historical Association, Collinsville Cemetery Association, and the Collinsville Museum of History.

Because of technology, students are able to connect to their past and current community and make a valuable contribution while learning course of study standards and interpersonal skills.

Google Slides #AL200 Heritage Project Summary:

That is absolutely incredible!!!

Any words of encouragement for the faculty of DeKalb County Schools?

One last word for those afraid or reluctant; Don’t be afraid to jump in and try it! We are digital immigrants and our students are digital natives. We are resistant to change but technology is life for our students for both work and recreation. We don’t know it all, but when I’m floundering I ask my students and they usually figure it out quicker than I can. Winston Churchill once said that “To improve is to change, To be perfect is to change often.” There is only one place to start and that is now, in small steps, baby steps. Try one small thing this unit, learn from it and keep trying. Nothing happens but stagnation if sitting still. I have tried my best to overcome many fears and have learned through flops and failures, but have been vastly rewarded by these wonderful tools at our disposal. I owe it to myself and my students to always grow and be the best that I can be, and technology makes it much easier!

Ok... randomness. Do you believe in Bigfoot?

Of Course, at least I want to badly. I’ve seen almost every episode of Finding Bigfoot at the behest of my wife. She says I’m crazy but the adventurer-outdoorsman side of me thinks there has to be something out there. There are just too many legends and evidence in too many countries for too long for there not to be something to it. I have to admit though, after traveling abroad to 9 different countries and going on African safari I haven’t seen one myself. But one day...

If you could sing one song on The Voice, what would it be and why?

Simple Man by Skynyrd. The reason is simple and so am I. I believe in serving and loving God, country, and family, as well as working hard and helping others. I consider my students my family and therefore am extremely blessed to be able to cover all of these through my job daily. Doesn’t even feel like work!

Random weird fact about yourself…

I’ve watched almost every episode of Finding Bigfoot, and play the banjo, too many weird things to mention I guess...

Thanks Scott! Keep up the good work!!!

Tech Integration Specialist

Abbey Thomas

Abbey serves as the Technology Integration Specialist for Henagar, Ider, Moon Lake, Plainview, Ruhama, Sylvania, and Valley Head.

Rob Hullett

Rob serves as the Technology Integration Specialist for Crossville, Collinsville, Fyffe, and Geraldine.

If you have any questions or needs please don't hesitate to contact us!