CPP Technology Today

A Communication of the CPP Technology Committee - Vol 1.4

In This Issue

Friday, Feb. 5th, 8am

This is an online event.

  1. Instructional Technology in Action - "Google Forms and Inspiring Authentic Research for Student Projects and Papers"
  2. Resource Spotlight - Google Forms
  3. Resources Spotlight - What's New on the CPP Technology Website
  4. Google Apps at CPP: "Inside a Google Classroom - A Student's View of Learning in the Cloud" by CPPHS senior Cassandra Taylor
  5. Google Apps at CPP: Login Reminder
  6. Shared Learnings - Conference Spotlight: "Make Your Audience Active with Nearpod" by Ann Collins
  7. Shared Learnings Resources - Nearpod Tutorial
  8. Shared Learning Teacher Spotlight - "Nearpod" by Jamie Nichols
  9. Shared Learnings - Conference Spotlight (Repost from Last Issue) - "Magic, Mayhem and Math: Make Math Practice Fun with Prodigy Game" by Lori Pruyne
  10. Shared Learnings Resources - ProdigyGame Tutorials and Screencast
  11. District Technology News: CPP Blogs: Ginalski Connects with Community Through Google Apps Blog Tool
  12. Technology Master Plan Goals - K-5 Teachers Tackle Technology Skills Integration
  13. Get Involved! Join a Focus Group and Become a Techy Turnkey Trainer!
  14. Newsletter Suggestions and Ideas

Instructional Technology in Action

Google Forms and Inspiring Authentic Research for Student Projects and Papers

CPPHS students are utilizing their Google Apps for Education accounts to help them become more authentic, original researchers and writers.

Students in grade 10, who complete the Personal Project, and Grade 12, who complete the senior research project, are utilizing the MISO method of research, developed by service learning expert Cathryn Berger Kaye.

MISO stands for the four types of research students can engage in:

Media - The most familiar type of research, this stands for Media. It includes any type of print, audio-visual or digital research (books, magazines, webpages, videos).

Interview - Students conduct interviews of experts on their topic of interest. They can interview people they know, but are encouraged to contact experts in the community or make digital contact (through email, for example). Students get practice speaking and questioning, as well as authentic, geniune information from someone learned in their topic.

Survey - Creating surveys help students refine their topic questions, identify important areas within their topic, and conduct completely original research of their own. Creating surveys electronically dramatically increases their ability to share the survey with a wide audience.

Observation - Students can go to the source and observe the situation they're researching. Those researching community hunger can go to a food pantry at different times and see how it changes (how many donations come in at holidays as opposed to the rest of the time? When is the need greatest? Is it single people, elderly people or families who come in?).

In order to help with the survey option, students are introduced to Google Forms. They learn how to create a Form, and how to share it with others. They discuss ways of distributing it electronically to get a better research. Additionally, they learn questioning strategies, such as using the 5W1H questions to brainstorm what to ask, and ways to phrase questions to get more detailed responses (Yes/No questions tell How people feel, but not Why they feel that way).

"It's hard to teach students to conduct their own research, but using Forms makes it much easier," notes teacher Lori Pruyne. "It also helps eliminate the 'cut and paste' problem we see so often with students plagarizing off of websites. Utilizing their own research also involves them more deeply with the topic."

Students share their Forms with each other through Google Classroom, and with their friends and family through email, text and social media. There is a contest currently to see who gets the most survey responses. Check future issues to find out where you can go to complete some surveys and helps students become researchers!

Instructional Technology Resource Spotlights - Google Forms

What's New on the District Technology Webpage?

The CPP Technology website is a district site, containing resources, links and updates for teachers, parents and students. Content is added to the website frequently, so be sure to check in. Ideas for content can be shared with any Tech Committee member, Bill Cameron or Lori Pruyne.


- Find tutorials, samples and resources for using Google Forms, a survey tool that can be used to gather information, give and grade assessments, and perform original research. Also find information on Nearpod, a survey tool that can be used to gather information, give and grade assessments, and perform original research. Also find information on Nearpod, a presentation program that allows the audience to interact with a presentation through activities such as polls, quizzes and questions.

Technology at CPP is a new section of the website, that will allow access to important district-related technology documents. The page currently contains information on the Smart Schools Bond and on the Technology Master Plan Goals.

- Access the teacher, student and parent links for the BrightBytes Technology Survey

Other Important Resources:

Access the CPP Technology Newsletter - new issues and archives!

- Open presentations, handouts and resources from many of the technology-related

- Find information and tutorials on using Google Apps

- Access tips and tricks for teaching in a 1:1 environment

Google Apps at CPP

Inside a Google Classroom: A Student's View of Learning in the Cloud

This regular feature will explore experiences from CPP teachers and students with using various Google Apps for Education

By Cassandra Taylor

When I first got into high school, one of the big “online classrooms” that a lot of teachers were using was Edmodo. It was set up very similarly to Facebook, where you could comment and like things that your classmates posted and submit assignments through. But it sort of died out in the middle of my sophomore year, for reasons like people forgetting logins and passwords and teachers just not wanting to use it anymore, finding it too tedious to sign out laptops constantly or whatever reasons teachers have for these things. Last year there wasn’t a big online classroom; there were still a few teachers that were using Edmodo, but they were rare and mostly in the music department. This year a lot of my classes were introduced to Google Classroom, which is yet another form of online classroom.

Google Classroom allows teachers to post assignments, collaborative documents that the whole class can participate with, and share links to websites to assist us in figuring out exactly what we’re doing. Due dates are easy to find and meet, and it makes keeping track of assignments that need to be done really convenient. Students can add documents right from their school-provided Google Drive, which eliminates the tedious process of having to email things to yourself and transfer them to a Word Doc to upload. A definite step up from Edmodo, it also allows students to post private comments that only the teacher can see; many students in the past didn’t receive the clarification they needed on certain assignments because they were too embarrassed to post a public comment asking their questions.

There is also the added benefit of keeping classes explicitly separate. Any documents shared to a student on Google Classroom are automatically sorted into different folders on Google Drive, which makes navigating through them and finding what you need much easier. Students no longer need to search their entire Drive to find one assignment from three months ago; as long as they are in the correct class folder, finding documents is fast and simple.

Surprisingly, this in an online program that I really enjoy. In society today, many people complain that kids don’t learn because they’re too engrossed in their electronics, so online classrooms are a pretty brilliant idea. Google Classroom especially has taken me by surprise in terms of its effectiveness. At first I was a bit reluctant to rely so heavily on it, because of features that allow teachers to monitor every keystroke a student makes and see exactly what you didn’t get done when you were supposed to be working on it in class. But, especially in my English class, where we have access to Chromebooks on a daily basis, it's been extremely helpful in keeping track of assignments and getting things done. Some students do tend to get sidetracked because of the nearly constant access to the internet, but for the most part everyone stays relatively on task.

It’s definitely a program I would recommend other teachers and students use, especially for classes that are very research based or require internet access frequently, or have a lot of projects to turn in. There aren't really a lot of downsides that I’ve come across, other than some issues with saving shared PDF’s, but I’m sure eventually someone will figure it out and share a solution. Overall, Google Classroom has made this year so far run much smoother than it would’ve otherwise, without the use of such a great online program.

What is Google classroom?

Google Apps Logins


This year, CPP has activated their Google Apps for Education domain. Through this domain, ALL teachers and students have Google Drive accounts, as well as access to many Google Apps for Education, including Google Classroom, Google Docs and many more.

To access your account:

  1. First, go to drive.google.com to log in to Google Drive. Drive is your starting point for all the Google Apps.
  2. Your username is whatever you use to login here at cpp +@cppasd.com (ie, lpruyne@cppasd.com).
  3. Contact Lori Pruyne, Carrie Howe or Dave Mayotte for your password. Passwords are all preset, and you will be prompted to change it at your first login.

Students also have accounts. Their usernames are set up the same ways as teacher accounts, and their passwords explained in the tutorial below. Student Google Apps Login Tutorial on the CPP Technology Website.

There are extensive resources for using Google Apps for Education at the CPP Google Apps Hub on the district technology page. Resources include videos, tutorials, practice exercises and activities to use with students.

If you'd like some help accessing and using Apps, please contact Lori, Carrie or Dave!

Shared Learning

Make Your Audience Active with Nearpod

This regular feature will share ideas, resources and learning that CPP teachers, administrators and staff bring back from conferences, workshops and other professional development opportunities.

By Ann Collins

I recently attended the FETC tech conference, and, although I had many great take-aways, I was particularly impressed with the Nearpod platform that was new to me. I was able to come back, shared teachers at Gregg and put it to use! I’m so excited and think you will be too!

Nearpod is a browser-based application which lets the teacher create and stream an interactive slideshow to the students’ machines that is controlled by the teacher.

Nearpod can be used in the classroom (or at meetings) for a number of purposes. It can serve as an amazing assessment tool that offers instant feedback as well as provide opportunities for re-teaching. It serves as an interactive presentation and formative assessment platform. When you create the presentation you can easily convert an existing Powerpoint or Google presentation into Nearpod. It also has a large library of teacher-created presentations for free and for purchase so users can adapt and use already-created presentations in their own lessons.

Teachers can teach any subject using this tool in various ways resulting in critical thinking development in students. One of the main advantages of using this app is students become active contributors in their own learning process whereas educators obtain valuable feedback about their student.

Users can easily upload videos, PDF files, audio clips, as well as images. Asking multiple choice questions, open-ended questions, quizzing and polling also are available, and audience members can type, select amongst choices or draw their responses.

For example, when students get quiz scores, teachers can take queries to explain faults in their understanding of content in place of waiting until the paper is checked and handed over to them. With this tool, students can complete polls and teachers receive results instantly for classroom debates. The tool also offers real-time reports and results to screen student development as well as modify instruction.

Educators can add drawing components, videos, and even questions for students to answer individually. They can even choose to share a student’s screen or responses with the whole class. Finally, each application collects data from individual students for teacher analysis.

At our February 1 staff conference day, I chose to share the GRAIR presentation with the K-2 teachers using Nearpod. Since I already had the presentation created in Google, I converted it to a pdf and simply dragged it into Nearpod (if I had created it in Powerpoint, it would have accepted it in that format). My slides all translated and then I added a few “activity” slides to engage my audience throughout the presentation. It was intuitive and easy. In this situation, staff used their personal devices (phones) using the free Nearpod app and entered our “class code” however any electronic device can be used: tablets, laptops, desktops, etc. This allowed me to stream and control the presentation to each person’s personal device.

I strongly encourage you to check it out on their website: www.nearpod.com for some how-to tips. Creating an account is free. I would love to hear if you love Nearpod as much as me! An Collins, principal Gregg Elementary School, acollins@cppmail.com
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Teacher Spotlight by Jamie Nichols, Grade 5

I have to say that Nearpod is one of the coolest technology sources. I just started using it a week ago, and love how the students are actively engaged in the lesson. I’ve used it for both ELA and Math. The students love it because they feel like they’re part of the lesson and receive instant feedback. Students really enjoy the “Draw It” questions, and the “Open Ended Questions”. I would definitely recommend this source to educators.

Magic, Mayhem and Math: Make Math Practice Fun with Prodigy Game

This regular feature will share ideas, resources and learning that CPP teachers, administrators and staff bring back from conferences, workshops and other professional development opportunities.

By Lori Pruyne

At the Future of Educational Technology Conference, Prodigy Game was featured as tool to help students practice - and enjoy - math skills. This free, curriculum-aligned math game for students in grades 1-8 allows teachers to create classes, assign work, and ensure that students are given math practice that is aligned to their grade level and needs. The game is aligned with the common core standards, so teachers can choose levels and questions for students to match their curriculum. Teachers can also track student progress, practice time and needs.

(See the 1.22.16 issue of CPP Technology Today for the full text of this article)

In this screencast video, a CPP student in grade 2 walks you through a few battles in Prodigy Game.
Math Fun with Prodigy Game at CPP

District Technology Updates

Ginalski Uses Google Apps to Connect With Community

CPP Superintendent Mike Ginalski, in tandem with Public Information Coordinator (and Technology Committee member) Bill Cameron, has been exploring the use of many digital tools to increase communication, both with CPP staff and with our entire community. A great deal of communication occurs through the website and district social media accounts, and this year saw the debut of the district podcast, letting the people of CPP tell their stories to the community, (literally) in their own voices.

This week saw the launch of another communication tool - Notes From the Superintendent, a public blog written by Ginalski. The blog will provide a way for Ginalski to share information, district accomplishments and more directly with the entire community. Ginalski said, “I am excited about doing this. I am committed to providing content of interest and highlight the many things happening in the District and giving insight to the how and why we do things.” He added, “I am hopeful we’ll build a wide audience that includes everyone from parents, to students to community members and even fellow educators, whether at CPP or elsewhere. There are so many topics to explore, get feedback on or simply share with people. A blog is a format that truly works well in this day and age.”

Additionally, Cameron says there are a lot of benefits to the blog format in terms of communication. "The online format of a blog accomplishes several things in terms of how we can communicate," Cameron says. "First, there is an immediacy of information. Secondly, people really want to hear from leadership on a variety of issues. The blog puts the Superintendent directly in front of the audience in a manner that is truly engaging.” He added, “The ability to add hyperlinks to the content also offers an enhanced way to tell our story or point to things of interest he will talk about. In a world where smartphones and tablets are in many cases the primary information delivery point for people, a blog fits those tools in a very user-friendly manner.”

This blog also introduces a tool that is available to CPP teachers, Notes From the Superintendent is hosted on the blogging platform Blogger, which is part of the Google Apps for Education suite. As such, all CPP students and faculty have Blogger accounts as part of their @cppasd.com Google accounts. Within the Google Apps for Education program, those blogs can be set as private, or shared just within the domain, so that students can create blogs, write for a real audience, share their ideas with others, but still remain protected within the CPP domain. Teachers could also create blogs to share information and classroom happenings with classes, parents or to create a Professional Learning Network with other teachers world-wide. Blogger will be the Instructional Resource Spotlight program in the next issue of CPP Technology Today.

In the meantime, check out the first blog post at the link below, celebrating the opportunites we have all created for kids here at CPP!

Technology-Related Master Plan Goals: Goal 2 Progress - K-5 Teachers Tackle Technology Skills Integration

The second of the eight technology-related Master Plan goals outlines a plan for ensuring that our students are taught technology skills, in a way that authentically embeds that teaching within the curriculum.

Objective 4: To formulate a plan to integrate technology skill instructional into grade level curricula

The first of the three objectives to this goal have been accomplished, and work on the fourth was started by K-5 teachers on the February 1 Professional Development Day. Teachers met together in two-grade-level groups, and reviewed the technology standards, the process by which the standards were created and the benefits of integrating technology skills instruction into tthe curriculum. Next, teachers worked in grade level groups to modify their current lessons to incorporate technology standards instruction into content area teaching.

"The best part of this is that teacher's focus starts with the skills that students need to learn," says Director of Elementary Education (and Technology Committee member) Kerry Hochreiter. "Instead of 'doing a technology project,' teachers are using the technology to make instruction easier, and, more importantly, to make learning more engaging and relevant for students. So, they learn their content and skills better, and they learn technology skills as well."

"Research bears out the fact that the most important factor in student achievement is strong instruction from their classroom teacher," adds Technology Committee member Lori Pruyne. "And it also shows that just technology without teachers doesn't help students achieve more. The greatest gains happen when a skilled teacher utilizes technology to support the curriculum. When this happens, students show academic achievement, but also gains in multiple areas, including attendance and graduation rates."

Each grade level modified at least two lessons to incorporate technology skills instruction to support specific content area teachings. All teachers will teach these lessons, either this year or in '16-'17, and will discuss it's effectiveness and necessary modifications together. Groups will also continue modifying instruction to develop more ways in which students can be supported in their learning, while also learning technology skills development.

If there are questions regarding the skills or the process of adopting them into instruction, please refer to the February 1 presentation (with sample modified lessons from all grade levels) linked below.

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Get Involved!

Get Involved! Join a Focus Group and Become a Techy Turnkey Trainer!

As more and more technology is becoming available at CPP, more teachers are utilizing and interested in utilizing instructional technology in their classrooms. As their numbers increased, there's a greater need for individuals to help them, providing information, assistance and ideas on using instructional technology.

There is no better resource for a teacher than another teacher. Toward the end of enabling teachers to support each other, several focus groups will be forming in the following months with the goal of enabling interested teachers to become "turnkey trainers." These focus group members will explore resources, investigate programs and share and instruct each other. They will then bring what they learn from each other back to other teachers in their buildings.

The first of these groups to form will be a Google Apps Focus Group. Teachers of all grade levels are encouraged to be involved; ideally, the group would contain at least one teacher from each school in the district. It is not necessary that teachers have used Google Apps for Education with classes at this point, but they should be familiar with Google programs and comfortable with technology. Meeting times and further information will be determined once membership has been solidified. Please contact Lori Pruyne, through email or at x3503 to indicate interest or for more information!

Newletter Information

What's happening with tech in YOUR classroom? Share your story - you can write your own, or we will visit you to watch you and your kids in action! The best professional development comes from other teachers - share your ideas with your colleagues to help all of our kids succeed!

For more information about the newsletter, to make suggestions for content or to contribute, please contact Lori Pruyne.