Innovat-Ed Learning


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Expanding the Information Highway

By: Laura Spencer

We've all been there. Driving on the two-lane divided highway behind the slow semi truck, wondering if there will ever be a passing lane, or a turn out ahead. It doesn't matter, at that moment, how fast your car is capable of going. You are limited by two factors: The speed of the vehicle in front of you, and the fact that there is only one lane to travel on. And the longer you travel down that road behind the slow truck, the more cars start to line up behind you, all wanting the same thing as you... access to the open road!

That's the situation we have been experiencing with our Internet access. As more and more devices are implemented throughout the district, more and more cars are traveling down a two-lane highway, searching for open road. Effective March 1st, we opened that road by signing a contract for more bandwidth access with Cox. Now, instead of a two-lane divided highway, we have a four lane freeway.

The only problem is that, even with those open roads, you can still only go as fast as your car is capable of traveling. If the semi truck is traveling at 55 mph, and your car is only capable of going 60 mph, that open road doesn't do you a lot of good. You still need a faster car.

We are in the process of getting that faster car by replacing our current wireless infrastructure. Those UFO-looking wireless access devices can't handle the mobile devices we are adding to our district. We've found a solution, and are currently working on securing E-Rate funding to help pay for it. Our goal is to have the project completed during Summer.

If all goes according to plan, you'll have a sports car and a freeway to drive it on when you return next school year.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

By: Kay Little

Recently I had the opportunity to work with a couple different Primary classrooms who were using iMovie to extend student learning. In Jennie Kiziroglou’s 1st and 2nd grade combination class at Lakeside Farms, the 1st graders created a movie on their future profession. The 2nd grade students created a video about the weather. Students were amazed at how easy it was to create a video using video clips of them talking, and photos that they had taken or downloaded.

The big question that always comes up is, “Where do we get pictures for a project?” We don’t want to break any copyright laws, so where can you go? Of course you can always have students take their own pictures, or even draw their image using an app like Drawing Pad. But if you want a more professional-looking photograph, here are a few places that I would suggest trying:

  • Digital Content Portal (DCP) JGo to CA Streaming, and click on Images. Search for the image you would like to use, then click on the image to open it. Right click on the image then save to your pictures folder (On an iPad you would just hold your finger on it, then save it to your camera roll.) The county controls the user names and passwords, so if you don’t know yours, email Cindy at and she can get you started with your user name and PW.

  • Wikimedia Commons On Wikimedia, put your search term in the search box. Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately and releasing copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page.

  • Pics 4 Learning On the Pics 4 Learning site, put in your search terms and click search. It’s nice because they provide everything you need to cite your source, plus you don’t need to worry that students might find inappropriate images.

Another option I have seen teachers do is to create a shared folder of images in Google Drive, then have students access the folder to download the images they want to use for their projects. It’s very easy to set up a Google Drive account that can be used for all the student iPads.

One final option is to upload images onto a Haiku Page that students could access. Students can easily go into Haiku and download the images that you have placed there. The Haiku Learning Management System is a great way for teachers to share content with their students. If you need help getting started in Haiku, just ask a TOSA!

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Photo Walks

By: Kay Little

Are you looking for a way to enhance the student technology projects in your classroom? If you have a class set of iPads, or even a smaller amount that could be shared, then you could benefit from teaching your students about some basic photo skills that would enhance their projects.

Recently I have had the opportunity to teach various classes at different sites about digital photography using the iPads. The lesson includes things such as the rule of thirds, getting close to your subject, leading lines, filling the frame, shooting from different angles and levels, and telling a story with your photos. After teaching students a short lesson on these photo skills, we go outside on a “Photo Walk” looking for things such as shapes, texture, lines, nature, clouds, symmetry, angles, etc. I have been so impressed by the photos our Lakeside students have taken on these photo walks. You can see some of the cloud images on this Flipagram. In addition, here are some examples of students photos found in this ThingLink. Just click on the icons to see the images.

In February I had the opportunity to teach a session at the East County TechFest held at West Hills High School. During my session called, “Picture This: Enhancing Student Projects Through Photography in the Elementary Classroom,” I shared some photo tips similar to what I teach when I do demo lessons in classrooms. During the presentation for teachers, I shared a video that my son Tyler created about his newborn son. (Tyler went to Lakeside Schools, and is now working on his Masters degree in BioTech in northern CA). In the video you can see examples of basic photo skills that will enhance your presentations. (This isn’t something I would show students, but it does give us insight as teachers about the different photo skills).

If you would like to schedule a time for a TOSA to come in and teach the lesson and take your students on a Photo Walk, please contact us.

Digital Framework Planning Guide

It's not just about integrating technology in to the classroom, but more importantly, on using technology as a tool to develop the skills students need for a successful future. Learn more about how the framework can help you via our Haiku page.

Wherefore Art Thou Rubric?

By: Steve Will

At each of your sites, I am hearing more and more interest in project-based learning, design thinking and other forms of teaching/learning different from the traditional "sage-on-the-stage” approach to teaching. One of the barriers of this type of teaching and learning is assessing the products produced. When students have the opportunity to show mastery of content and skills in new ways, teachers generally turn to the rubric. However, they can be difficult to create. I found this great article with a brilliant way of addressing the difficulty of rubric creation. I hope you find it helpful.
A Model Common Core Digital District Framework