Talkin' Tech

with Dianna

January 2019

Big picture

SchoolWires Going Live Soon

We've made a lot of progress on our training and the sites will be made public for the start of the second semester.

Elementary teachers, I hope you are experimenting and working with what works best for you and how you will share information with your stakeholders. I know I plan to meet with several of you on Teacher Work Day and I'll be in other buildings at later dates.

SchoolWires is new and that always brings apprehension and a little frustration as you set about learning. I'm going to stress the basics and when we're comfortable there, we can get fancy! After the training session in your building, I'll be glad to help anyone that needs a little 1:1 coaching. Just let me know.

Secondary teachers, I think we've managed to meet with a majority of you but for those of you, I haven't met with I hope that you find it user-friendly and easy to manage. The best news is that once you've got it created you'll not have to do anything unless you want to make an update.

Our goal is to have pages functional and published at the beginning of second semester. The tutorials are linked to the buttons below if you need them.

Tech Toolbox

These are some of the tools your fellow teachers here at CCS are successfully using in their classes and have recommended them for you. I know we can't possibly get all the tools we're using, but any we can add would be great. I know teachers are hungry to fresh and exciting tools to bring into their classrooms. If you have a fun one you want to share, add it to our list here.
Creating engaging presentations is something that we all struggle with. When you factor in Universal Design, it can get more complicated. It is so easy to create PowerPoints or Google Slide decks that are monotonous or repetitive, but those aren't always best practice to keep our students engaged. There are many tools to help us make this easy. Here are some of my favorites:

Slides Carnival--premade presentations backgrounds that can be used with PowerPoint or Google Slides (note, not available for students but there is a workaround I can help you with if you are interested_

Scribble Tool & Bitmoji--IDOE innovation Specialist Nadine Gilkison from Franklin Township shared this with us during her 12 Days of Techmas. There are a LOT of ideas in her 12 days of information.

Unsplash--Free, fantastic photos that will enhance any presentation. Bonus, if you're using Google Slides then it is an addon that integrates directly with the product.

Extensis Fonts--extend the creativity of your fonts by getting this addon for Google Docs. Then you can copy and paste it into Google Slides. The more you use something and make it part of your repertoire, it will appear in your slides.

There are a plethora more, but this is a great start that shouldn't get you too overwhelmed.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Use this ready-made Google Slides template and your students can build a snowman, be creative, and work on their writing skills.This would be great for all ages of students and can be adapted as needed. I'd have loved to try this with my Spanish students.

By the way, this blog is FANTASTIC if you're looking to learn more about blended learning, Google for Education tools, or just some innovative ideas.

See the links below.

Request to unblock a website:

Here is the form I'm using to unblock websites. Please don't forget that advance notice is appreciated. I can usually work on something within 24 hours, but 48 hours is ideal. Please don't assume a site is open and working. We've come across several from the elementary level in the last couple weeks that we've used for years that are updating and therefore needed some attention to work. And with secondary and the Chromebooks, there is a great need to check sites because the filtering system is different and is like starting over. A lot of times the site will load, but the images or content is linked to a third party that may not be open. Please don't hesitate to send them to me to work on. I don't mind helping you out at all!
This labor of love is constantly growing and evolving. It's the best place for me to curate information that teachers might find helpful and make it accessible to you even when I'm not physically present to help. There are links to help both students and teachers and the link to request a site be unblocked (hint--save the link to your favorites or your desktop). There is information on Canvas, Google, email, and Chromebooks. It's always a work in progress.

Recent additions and updates include: Classroom Relay information, SchoolWires tutorials, expanded information on Google products, updates to the Chromebook tips, and updates to the differences between Chromebooks & Windows devices.

Just a note from me...

Just like that we've put 2018 in the past and we're embarking on the new journey that is 2019. If any of your resolutions are to become more tech savvy or to incorporate more technology into your classes, let me know. I would LOVE to help you out!

I hope you were able to recharge your batteries for this long stretch to Spring Break and that your holidays were filled with blessings. I know I was able to get some much needed rest (more than I bargained for thanks to the stomach flu) and I'm eager to get this second semester underway. I have some goals for myself both personally and professionally. One of those is that I intend to begin a masters program in Learning and Technology in 2019 that will help me enhance my skill set and learn more about all of the things that go into good tech integration and healthy course design. Life is sure to be an adventure when that starts!

Have a great first few days back and let me know if I can be of help!