PUSD Educational Technology

Enhance, Accelerate, and Personalize Learning!

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Message from Dr. Smith

Greetings Everyone!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your dedication to the students and families of the Paramount Unified School District! Your passion, hard work, and commitment to excellence serves as an inspiration for me, and I continue to be impressed with your willingness to embrace our work around educational technology.

Since the start of the 2017-2018 school year, we have accomplished so much together already, here are just a few highlights:

  • Issued over 3,000 new Chromebooks to 3rd graders, Jackson Middle School students, and 9th graders at PHS West as part of our 1-1 initiative.
  • Implemented Amplify's ELA program across all of our middle schools.
  • Conducted online assessments using our new data management system Illuminate.
  • Provided access to the ParentVue and Schoology portals for parents.

I am grateful to our teachers, counselors, coaches, support staff, curriculum specialists, IT team, and site and district leadership for working together to move our work forward. I am also thankful to everyone for their patience and flexibility as we try doing new things, and for being so willing to join us on this journey.

Great things are happening in Paramount schools! #WeArePUSD #NewHeights


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Badges? Maybe we do need them!

In Schoology courses, teachers have the ability to issue digital "badges" to students to reward them for excellence. Pictured above are a couple of badges that teachers Sam Bozorgzadeh (PHS West) and Heather Van Eede (Jackson) made as well as a Star Wars one that someone made available to all in Schoology.

Badges can be a great source of pride for students as they earn them, and they also display on their profile page. PHS West PE teacher Jaime Ramirez mentioned that it's a great way to meet the 3:1 ratio of positive interactions with our students, and that his students really enjoy the praise and recognition.

Schoology comes with a number of pre-built badges that can be issued to students or create their own. Badges that other educators from around the world have created and shared (like the Star Wars badges) can be found in the public Resources section of Schoology (tab at the top of the page) - just search for badges.

Below is a great video that can help you get started!

Schoology Creating and Awarding Badges
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The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) publishes standards for students, educators, and coaches that clearly define how technology can transform teaching and learning.

As we continue with our district's 1-1 Chromebook Initiative, the ISTE standards will play a key role in our professional development. To read more about the standards, click below:

About the Standards: https://www.iste.org/standards

Standards for Students: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-students

Standards for Educators: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

Standards for Coaches: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches

Standards for Administrators: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-administrators

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The Illuminate Data and Assessment platform (Illuminate DnA) has replaced OARS providing enhanced features and flexibility, including Single Sign On for staff. Professional development is underway providing users with the knowledge and tools they need to successfully navigate Illuminate. The Research, Assessment, and Student Information (RASI) department is working with Curriculum Specialists and site coaches to roll-out the many features of the system in alignment with District assessments. In addition, the following resources can help you get Illuminated!

RASI Workshop: Illuminate Customization, Creating & Managing your own Assessments. We hold an open question and answer session after every workshop to assist you with your Illuminate needs and teachers are paid at the non-student rate.

Tuesday Feb 27: http://paramount.k12oms.org/2138-138952

PUSD Illuminate Group in Schoology has many resources and information available. You can also post a question! Access Code 2BCT7-68R2V

Illuminate University: Training: Illuminate support is extensive, and includes Lessons & Videos, phone & e-mail support available in your Illuminate Control Panel as well online training. Visit the Illuminate DnA Video Group

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In this section, Dr. Smith will address some of common wonders about our work around educational technology.

I wonder how we can ensure that students don't cheat when taking an online exam.

We will have a secure browser option in place before the end of the semester for teachers to use when they are proctoring exams via Schoology or Illuminate. This will prevent students from opening another window or tab when they take an assessment.

We also recommend considering the following tips when proctoring an online assessment:

  1. Review expectations for student behavior prior to giving any exam.
  2. Position yourself in a spot where you can see your students monitors and circulate around the room as students take the exam.
  3. "Search proof" your assessments - i.e. ask questions that require answers that can't be easily searched and copied.
  4. Differentiate assessment items for students or classes.

I wonder why there are two portals for parents - ParentVue and Synergy.

Both portals provide parents with different information. ParentVue provides students with information about attendance, schedules, and official grade marks from Synergy. Schoology provides parents with information about what is happening in classrooms on a day to day basis - e.g. course materials, assignments, quizzes, grades, etc.

When parents create a ParentVue account, a Schoology account is automatically created for them. At this point, over 2,500 parents have created accounts!

I wonder if students who have Chromebooks will be allowed to keep them over the summer.

We have not determined this yet. Later in the year, we will gather feedback from our principals, parents, and students on this to help guide the decision. Last year, 9th graders were allowed to keep their Chromebooks over the summer, and there were very few issues.

Professional Learning Opportunities

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Over the next several weeks, our Educational Technology Curriculum Specialists - Durrell Jackson and Nancy Rivas - will be providing several workshops for our teachers who are a part of our 1-1 Chromebook Initiative as well as anyone else who is interested in learning more! Click the flyer below for more details.

We also encourage you to join the PUSD Instructional Technology group on Schoology - access code G95MS-3HGJS. In this group, you will find ample resources, how-to guides, and videos. You can also post questions and receive quick answers.

Finally, any teacher is welcome to set up an appointment with Durrell or Nancy to learn more about how educational technology can be used to enhance learning, co-plan or co-teach a lesson, and more. They will be more than happy to come right to your classroom!

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Are you using tools like Amplify, ST Math, or Schoology in your classroom, and not sure who to contact when you have trouble? Check out our new Digital Systems and Resources directory.
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