Media Matters & Tech Tidbits

February 2016

In this edition...

Love Your Library Month - ACTION: Need teacher responses!

Well-Worth-It Website of the Month -

Digital Collections from NY Public Library

Digital Learning Day - Win an Apple Watch! ACTION: Need teacher responses!

JCS Tech Updates - SchoolNet, Google Classroom, Discovery Education, Smart Notebook

It Happened in February...

Calendar with links to various events in history Can you make some connections to any upcoming lessons?

Media Matters - Media Matters - Media Matters

February is Love Your Library Month!

Library Love All Month Long

All month we will be working hard to get SJHS students to fall in love with their library, learning, and reading. Encourage students to use the media center to complete research, use the makerspace, or just check out a book to read for the fun of it!

Staff question: Which book made you fall in love with reading? Which teacher or class made you fall in love with learning? Send your answer in here.

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Well Worth It Website of the Month - African American History Month

Sponsored by the Library of Congress, the website African American History Month is a wonderfully diverse collection of primary resources including images, audio, and video. Also included on the site are also teacher guides for planning lessons that incorporate these digital resources.
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New York Public Library Digital Collection

Explore 672,388 items digitized from The New York Public Library's collections.

This site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.

Did you know that more than 180,000 of the items in the Digital Collections are in the public domain?

That means everyone has the freedom to enjoy and reuse these materials in almost limitless ways. The Library now makes it possible to download such items in the highest resolution available directly from the Digital Collections website.

No permission required. No restrictions on use.

You'll find tools, projects, and explorations designed to inspire your own creations—go forth and reuse!

Tech Tidbits -Tech Tidbits - Tech Tidbits

Digital Learning Day 2016

Digital Learning Day 2014

Get Your Students Pumped Up to Learn With Digital Technology!

February 17th, 2016 marks this year's Digital Learning Day Celebration!

What is digital learning? Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience.

Why celebrate Digital Learning Day? Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.

To get all of the details about Digital Learning Day AND enter for a chance to WIN AN APPLE WATCH, click on the link below:

Digital Learning Day Information and Apple Watch Contest

Want to share your Digital Learning Day activities with your colleagues? Let us know how you are using digital technology in your classroom here. Teachers who submit will be recognized for their innovative ideas! Need some ideas? Check out Participate Learning's FREE resources here! Check out NCDPI resources here.

Mooresville Graded School District in NC has earned national recognition for their innovative use of digital technology and ultimately their digital conversion which they have achieved. See what Mooresville staff and students say about digital technology:

Digital Learning Day Showcase: Mooresville School District

JCS Digital Learning Team Updates

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Discovery Education Updates

For those of you who use Discovery Ed's Streaming Content, as of yesterday, Discovery Education is now syncing with our Johnston County Google accounts.

All students and staff should be able to use their Google account to log into the site. You can go to the Discovery Education link on or pages or simply use You will be prompted to "allow" your Google account to talk to Discovery, and then your account will work. If you have trouble with this new process, please let me know.

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Smart Notebook - NEW FEATURE - Lesson Activity Toolkit

Lesson Activity Toolkit is an awesome resource that is now available within SMART Notebook- the Lesson Activity Toolkit!

The toolkit is a gallery collection of activities, games, and graphics that are ready to use with your content. Need to review key terms with your students? Chose one of the Word Biz or Vortex Sort activities to turn the review into a fun student centered activity!

To access the Lesson Activity Toolkit (sorry no screen shots):

  • open SMART Notebook and look for the picture tab on the menu bar to open the gallery
  • Click on the + next to "Lesson Activity Toolkit 2.0" to view the subfolders
  • One of my favorite activities is the Hot Spots, click on "Interactive and Multimedia" to see the results and then drag one of the icons on a page
  • The Hot Spots activity will load in the page, then click "Edit" to customize the activity
  • The Hot Spots activity can be changed from a world map to a human body, grid, venn diagram, or you can upload your own custom image for students to touch. You then create "hot spots" where the students touch and receive a score based on the distance to the correct response.

This is just an example of one of the many different pre-built activities now available in the Lesson Activity Toolkit, I encourage you to explore this collection to get new ideas for using your SMART Board. There is a quick reference guide to the Lesson Activity Toolkit available as a PDF to help you explore the activities available.

If you have any questions about the Lesson Activity Toolkit or SMART Notebook, please feel free to reach out to the Digital Learning Team, we are always here to help!

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Updates to SchoolNet - Coming February 5th

NCDPI has just announced that Schoolnet will be updated on Friday, February 5th. We will have more details about the upcoming release over the next few weeks. Please share with your teachers when planning online assessments that Friday, February 5th and Monday, February 8th may be days to minimize online assessments as the system will be updating.

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Google Classroom - Wrapping Up the Last Semester

Strategies for wrapping up your Google Classroom for the 1st semester:

Clean Up Your Google Drive

Google Classroom creates a "Classroom" folder in your Google Drive. In the folder is a sub-folder for each class you have created. You can move the folders and I recommend making a new favorites folder and moving any favorite assignments or project examples to this folder. It will make it easy to add assignments or handouts next semester to your new classes.

Another good idea is to create a Fall 2015 sub-folder in your "Classroom" folder and move all your current courses into the folder. This will make it clean and ready to go for next semester.

Archive Fall Classes

Google has an archive tool to save your completed classes and removes them from your home screen. Note that you cannot add new assignments and students can no longer turn in assignments once a class is archived.

To archive a class, login to Google Classroom and click on the three dots next to the class you wish to archive.

Start Planning Ahead

I recommend creating new classes each semester or year, depending on how often you get new students. Now that Google Classroom has the ability to save assignments and announcements as drafts and reuse assignments, you can use this time to pre-populate your classes as well as add your syllabus and resource documents.

Google Classroom Gradebook Split Screen Extension

Alice Keeler at Teacher Tech has developed a Chrome extension that will allow you to split your screen so that you can have your student work in Google Classroom open on one half of your screen and your gradebook open on the other side of the screen. This is a handy timesaver when grading student work.

Click here to view Alice's blog post with instructions!

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Digital Learning Conference - Still Time to Register!

Join Media Coordinators, Tech Contacts, and DLC's from around the district for a full day of exploring new directions in digital learning.

The conference will be on Monday, February 15th, 2016 from 8:30am-4:00pm in Smithfield, NC at West Campus.

More information will be sent in January to those who pre-register. Please check with your principal if you are interested in attending and then register by going to: