GWAEA Digital Learning Update

to ensure success for all learners - March 2016

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The Edtech Take Out - Bite-sized Technology Tips for Teachers

The Digital Learning team at Grant Wood AEA is always looking at new ways to augment the professional development and work we do with educators. With that in mind, we have recently launched a brand new way for educators to stay current with the latest technology tools and trends for the classroom - The EdTech Take Out podcast. It can be accessed on smartphones, tablets, Macs, PCs and Chromebooks so teachers can listen to it anywhere, and at any time. More information about the show, as well as how to subscribe, can be found here:

We think that this could be a great opportunity for you and would be grateful if you could pass this along. If you have any questions, let us know.

If you have an agency iPad, download it and listen on a drive or listen on the Digital Learning Blog!

iPadU: Slide to Unlock Learning 2016

On July 6, 7 and 8, 2016, Grant Wood AEA will be hosting a conference to celebrate and expand upon innovative classroom integration strategies for the iPad. Join us for three days of learning that will include exciting, hands-on experiences that you can use to enhance teaching and learning in a K-12 classroom. This year, the theme of our conference is "Show What You Know".

Learn more about iPadU at the GWAEA Digital Learning site. Where you can get links to register and to submit a session if you would like to share!

Here is a flyer if you would like to share!

Think, Make, Innovate: LittleBits Celebration Machine

Episode 7: LittleBits Celebration Machine

This challenge invites students to create an original circuit using LittleBits and other common items to create a celebration machine to use when your team scores a basket or wins the game! In this episode, we are able to feature Washington Elementary in Mount Vernon. Check out how these students collaborate to bring their creativity to life with LittleBits. We thank their librarian, Mary Priske, for having us be a part of their maker time!

New to making?

Feel free to reference our lesson plan for tips on implementation, extension ideas.

Our goal is to create a community of makers. We hope you will consider sharing student work to post to our Community Inspiration Board. Sharing is easy - send us your stop motion videos through social media and tag @dlgwaea or send an email to or share links with us using this form.

We hope you enjoy the show - Have Fun Making!

Think, Make, Innovate: LittleBits Celebration Challenge

ITEC Student Technology Fair

ITEC sponsors regional student technology fairs each spring. The technology fairs offer K-12 students an opportunity to showcase technology-based projects created as part of their instructional curriculum in their schools.

Date: May 2, 2016
Location: Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, Coralville, IA

Registration is OPEN!

Learn more about the student technology fairs.

New for 2016-2017 - Digital Learning Institute

Learn more and get signed up by clicking the button above!

This is a course that will engage teachers in a technology-rich learning environment to support creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication with students. Throughout the course, participants will engage in a community of teachers, schools and districts, along with GWAEA coaches. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and implement new strategies learned in class.

This course will be offered for 3 hours of recertification credit. Watch the video below for more information on The Digital Learning Institute.

The Digital Learning Institute

Iowa 1:1 Institute

Wednesday, April 6th, 2-4pm

730 Third Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

It is time to get ready again for the Iowa 1:1 Institute. Registration and call for sessions is open. Learn more about the Institute here.

The Iowa 1:1 Institute exists to:

  • Help 1:1 districts learn from each other about innovative teaching, learning, and administrative practices that are occurring in their districts;

  • Build excitement and ‘buzz’ around 1:1 laptop computing initiatives

  • Help others who are interested in 1:1 computing learn more about how to get started and be successful.

The day is designed to engage school leaders around the ways they can help ensure that their technology initiative is used as a vehicle to enhance the learning environment.

Featured presenter:

Dr. Robert Dillon, Director of the Research Institute at BrightBytes, a national education think tank dedicated to promoting innovation and best practice in all classrooms. Prior to this role, he served the students and community of the Affton School District as Director of Technology and Innovation.
Register for the Event

Learn more about the Leadership Day

Submit a Proposal to Present

Building Bridges: Assistive Technology Conference 2016

Wednesday, April 13th, 8am-4pm

4401 6th Street Southwest

Cedar Rapids, IA

The “Building Bridges: Eastern Iowa Assistive Technology Conference” will provide an opportunity to see first hand the latest in assistive technologies (AT), practices, and services for school-age students with disabilities. This AT conference will serve as a unique opportunity for professionals, parents, administrators and service providers to exchange and gather information on the current status and assistive technology tools available for consideration.

Conference Flyer Information

Students are asked to create animations, demonstrations, models, or simulations

Why This Matters

Digital simulations and games can provide “insights into the nuances and complexities of how students solve problems” (Bushweller, 2014).

One of the ways you can have students create animations, demonstrations, models or simulations is through code. Coding has gotten more student friendly to learn the basics and then can be taken to advanced levels to cover the skills of a wide range of students. There are and Scratch workshops to attend if you want to learn more about how coding can support your curriculum and students. If you want to learn more, don't hesitate to contact your GWAEA technology consultant.

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International Scratch Day is May 14th

Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically.

Consider hosting a Scratch Day event to promote Scratch programming. For more information, go to

Ann Nicholson is partnering with Grant Wood AEA to host our third annual Scratch Day event. For more information on this event, go to:

Supporting Technology Literacy in Elementary Classrooms with Scratch Programming

The course will run April 4 – May 9, 2016. The course is offered through AEA PD Online and can be taken for 2 hours of recertification or graduate credit. Check out the following link for more information. 22024299991604

Here is a brief overview of the course:

Scratch 2.0 is an excellent, free, web-based, graphical programming tool developed by MIT that supports digital age learning, the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, and 21st Century Skills (Common Core – Technology Literacy). Course participants will learn and reflect on how Scratch supports Technology Literacy, learn the basics of using Scratch 2.0, explore the tutorials and resources available, and see examples of how students in elementary grades can use Scratch 2.0 across the curriculum, creating and sharing interactive stories, games, and animations. Participants will create a plan and resources for introducing Scratch to students.

Computer Science Curriculum for the Elementary Classroom

Come for a hands-on day of learning about's free K-5 curriculum and learn how coding can be integrated into your school. This one day workshop will introduce teachers to an elementary computer science curriculum. Even with no prior knowledge of computer programming, this training will empower teachers to teach the concepts of programming in their classrooms. The curriculum introduced featuring three tiers of coursework. These three courses blend online, self-guided and self-paced tutorials with "unplugged" activities - lessons that teach computing concepts without a computer. Each level consists of about 20 lessons that may be implemented as one contiguous unit or one lesson a week for a semester. Each lesson may be implemented within a standard 45-50 minute class period.

The courses have been designed for students of all ages, but they reinforce math, science, and English education standards for elementary school students. The Computational Thinking Practices of: creativity, collaboration, communication, persistence and problem solving will be emphasized throughout. The workshop itself will be a mix of curriculum overview, introduction to the teacher/learner/observer (TLO) process, practice lessons, and discussions on implementation.

When: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016 - 8 am - 4 pm

Where: Grant Wood AEA, 4401 6th Street S.W., Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

Sign Up Here

Innovation in Education Workshop - Maker Movement - RESCHEDULED

Aaron Maurer -

This session is designed to help educators and anyone involved in the field of education understand what this makerspace movement is all about and how to find a way to make it work in the school setting. Through a variety of hands on learning, lively discussions, activities, and planning, participants will walk away with a sense of how to implement the ideas back at their school and classroom. Key ideas to be discussed will be learning spaces, PBL integration, how to manage the makerspace, easy activities to start, and how to blueprint change for your current space.

May 4, 2016

1:00-3:30 p.m.,

Cedar Rapids Educational Learning and Support Center

Course Number: 19368-15-01

Fees: $40 within AEA10 boundaries, $65 outside of AEA10

Registration Deadline: 1/27/16 at 6:00 a.m.

Registration information can be found here.

The GWAEA Digital Learning Team has some resources to get you started if you are considering a Makerspace! Contact your technology consultant if you want to stop by for a visit or have questions.

Defined STEM- Provided Free for GWAEA Schools!

Grant Wood AEA is offering schools a new online resource called Defined STEM. Defined STEM weaves curriculum strands into a personalized learning experience, unique for each student. Defined STEM provides real-world relevance and application opportunities to K-12 students through performance tasks, literacy tasks, constructed responses, and high-interest video. Contact Mindy Cairney or Amber Bridge if you are interested!
Didn't make it to ITEC this year? Here are our sessions

These are the session resources for the GWAEA Digital Learning Team's resources from the 2105 ITEC Conference

About Us

The Grant Wood Digital Learning Team works with AEA 10 schools to help them integrate technology in the classroom. We work with teachers and administrators on-site, and at Grant Wood facilities. Each school district is assigned a Technology Consultant from the Digital Learning Team to help facilitate the ways in which we can help schools improve teaching and learning with technology.
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GWAEA Digital Learning PD Opportunities

Click the above button to see a list of upcoming courses and workshops.