VTSD Tech News

January Edition

A Note from the Tech Guy

2016 is here and it is very exciting! I can tell everyone is invigorated when they return - the students are charged up (maybe too excited!) and the teachers come back from break focused and on fire! Jackie Van Orden said she already had 24 meetings with teachers this week to help get 2016 started with a bang!


As you get settled into 2016 and are ready to try some new tech integration in your classroom, please know we are here to support you! Jackie and Janet are ready to push-in to support your lessons! My helpdesk crew will get broken tech back online fast! Ron, Denise, and I are working to get network speeds optimized - and we even have a new team member to help support Power School issues (you can read more about Lindsey below)!


I wish you a happy, tech-filled 2016! And now, on with the tech news...

Paperless tools at school and home!

To help kick off the new year and give some resolution ideas, we decided to share some things we have available right now that kids can use both here at school and at home!


  • Schoology - If you have not tried Schoology yet in your classroom, the new year might be the time to start! From posting homework assignments, having online discussions, to giving assessments that can be imported into Power School - there are lots of useful ways to engage students in and out of your classroom!
  • Google Classroom - Another great tool to try! Classroom may not have as many bells and whistles as Schoology but if you are sharing and collecting documents, this is hard to beat! No need to hand out massive packets or collect 5-page papers from students - classroom can manage all of that for you and since it is Google, kids can access their info from anywhere in the world!
  • Read & Write for Google with Screenshot Reader - Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a big deal and Texthelp (the makers of Read & Write) just came out with one of the best tools I have seen in years. There is a tool right in Read & Write now that will allow any student to simply drag a box over an area of any screen to have it read to them - in a Google Doc, a web page, an image - anything! Very powerful for any learner!
  • Google Apps - Here is a statistic from my parent survey from November: 19% of Vernon families do NOT have Microsoft Office at home. Giving a word or powerpoint assignment may be a hardship for some students so consider using Google Apps (docs, slides, sheets, etc). Students can access their files from anywhere they have Internet and can easily share with others.

CHAMPION SPOTLIGHT: Pam Kucks

This month's champion hails from Glen Meadow: Pam Kucks! Having a whole school start a one-to-one initiative can be intimidating but Pam has risen to the challenge! Her students use Google Classrooms every day, check their email daily, and work on engaging tech projects.


One project was using Prezi to create a presentation, The Giver Glossary: Top Ten. Students had to choose ten of the most profound words in the book, define them, add an image that portrayed the term, and included in-depth sentences using the word. These types of engaging projects help the students to prove their understanding of the books they read.


The next project is "Appy New Year: 16 Apps to Welcome 2016"! Great job, Pam, and keep it going in the new year!

UPCOMING TRAINING

There is a special county event being hosted by High Point Regional on Monday, January 18th! They are hosting their 2nd annual Google Summit - sounds like they are booked but if you are going...see you there!


In MyLearningPlan now:

1/11 HS ScIP - Using Twitter to find Fresh New Ideas for Your Classroom

1/11 HS ScIP - Google Classroom

1/11 HS ScIP - Schoology Assessments

more on its way!


Keep an eye on MLP, more workshops will be announced soon!!! Don't forget, if you would like a one-on-one with a tech coach, just schedule time with Janet or Jackie via their Google Calendars!

District Power School Support

Please help me welcome Lindsey Rogers, our new District Power School Support person!


Lindsey was previously a secretary & bookkeeper at Cedar Mountain for the last year. She has a technical background and a degree from Rutgers which made her a great choice for this position!


Lindsey will lead major power school projects, will be our first level of support when issues arise, and will turn-key PS training for both secretaries and faculty in the future.

LH & GM One-to-One reminder

Last year the LH teachers gave us some great feedback. One of the lessons we learned is this: the students need to be reminded of the Rules of the Road throughout the year. Last January was sadly a record month for number of chromebooks broken. Take a moment to remind your homeroom students that they are responsible for the care of these devices. If you want Jackie, Janet, or myself to stop by to talk to the students, let us know!


Thanks for all you have done so far with the chromebooks!

DID YOU KNOW: Printing costs money and kills trees

Through the first three months of this school year VTSD has spent $14,624, used 409,140 pieces of paper, and killed five 60-foot-tall trees. Those numbers do not include copying - only printing...


Consider going paperless in your classroom - Schoology, Google Classrooms, and Google Drive can help!

VTHS Engineering Video

Quote of the Month...

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

- Arthur C. Clarke