Dawson County Schools Tech Update

Sharing the good news of Instructional Tech in our schools

Instructional Technology Committee News

The instructional technology committee met Thursday, May 12 at 1:00pm. The committee utilized Schoology and the professional learning course "Technology Committee" for meeting resources. Mr. Gaddis reported on the "state of tech". The new Powerschool Gradebook was demonstrated and will be implemented when Powerschool is updated in June. The new grade book runs completely in a web browser, on any device, and is not reliant on Java or Flash. Mr. Brian DeRose was introduced as the new Coordinator of Instructional Technology, effective July 1, a full time position. He will replace Mr. Neil Harrison who will become the Performing Arts Center (PAC) coordinator, July 1, 2016.

Swipe https://www.swipe.to/ was demonstrated to the committee as a way to provide a presentation to multiple devices (like a room of iPad users) and control what is presented on their screens. Synergyse https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/synergyse-training-for-go/idkloemkmldbemijiamdiolojbffnjlh an extension that can be added to the chrome browser, was demonstrated. This extension provides free Google Apps training from inside your browser!

Mr. Harrison thanked the committee for their efforts this year on behalf of our students and staff.

From the Executive Director of Technology- Roman Gaddis

Exciting news... The iPads have been ordered and should arrive in early June. Next year will be very exciting as we provide an iPad for every Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Grader and Teacher in Dawson County. We will be delivering professional development regarding the use of the devices in the classroom and using our Learning Management System, Schoology, next school year. These two initiatives will fundamentally change and shape how we engage and teach students.


Along with this we are also implementing a portal for online student registration called PowerSchool Registration. This will eliminate some of the paper work at the beginning of the school year for new and returning students.


Also next year we will be introducing Google Accounts for students. Every student in Dawson County will have a google account and access to Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Gmail. This will transform how you interact and communicate with your students.


As always, I want to remind everyone the technology team is here to assist and help you with your technology needs and with these exciting changes in Dawson County.

How We Teach with Tech

DCSS has many talented teachers and this section will highlight their efforts to integrate technology in their instruction and provide a resource for others.



Suzanne Smith: BMES Technology Teacher & Support for 18 years, prior with The Coca-Cola Company for 17 years as an Executive Administrative Assistant

One word the best describes how I teach: standards-based

Current mobile devices: iPhone 6, mini iPad, MacBook Pro (personal), iPads (classroom)

Current computer: MacBook Air

What’s on my desk or classroom? Technology posters & information, recycled CDs turned into animals, 29 iMacs, SmartBoard

What apps, software or tools can’t you live without - Google Apps for Education including the Chrome Browser, MS Word, and MS PowerPoint

What is your favorite app for instructional organization, management - Google Drive

What apps or tech activities appeal the most to your students? Internet research followed-up with a PowerPoint that students present to their classmates, and a Computer Bingo game I purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/ which is a fun way to teach and reinforce technology terminology.

Where do you find more ideas for technology integration in your classroom? Google Apps for Education, interaction with teachers on the System Technology Team, Brian Buffington from RESA, and Neil Harrison.

What advice would you give other teachers on how to integrate technology in their classroom? Using websites to introduce lessons, providing a visual for students which only takes a couple of minutes, YouTube videos are a great way to teach a topic and to get students interacting in conversation, look at standards, Google search what you want students to learn, and make an interactive lesson or project, use the SmartBoard to interact with students, make a research worksheet and follow-up with a presentation or iMovie. Students need to do lots of research! Make it fun and interesting!

Technology Integration Strategies

Schoology is here! This is the Learning Management System that our system is adopting and teachers can access it now to learn more about how to use use it with students and start preparing resources to support your instruction. Dawson County teachers should access Schoology at this address: https://dawsoncounty.schoology.com/login?&school=537873979 Use your school email address as your login name and if you do not know your Schoology password, click on the forgot password link and set your password. Please contact Roman Gaddis mailto:rgaddis@dawson.k12.ga.us if you have any login issues. Eventually, you will login with your school Google credentials. Please do not make your self a free account, we can get you added to our system account which offers many more features.


Take a peek at the Schoology Blog https://www.schoology.com/blog to discover more neat things Schoology can do for your school and students.


Once you are logged in for the first time, Schoology may start an introduction tour for you. Here is a great place to start, found in the Schoology Support section: https://support.schoology.com/hc/en-us/articles/206621517-Getting-Started-on-Schoology-For-Instructors


Every Schoology User has unlimited storage in your Personal Resources area. This is a great place to store websites, documents, assessments that you will use when preparing lessons with your classes. It can even connect with your Google Drive.


Schoology will allow you to "Blend", "Flip" your current classes and even provide pure on-line learning for courses and professional learning that do not require student attendance at certain place and time.


You can design "Synchronous" learning activities that students participate with at the same time, like assessments, class review, introduction of new information, teacher presentations. Your lessons will also contain "Asynchronous" learning activities such as projects, book reports, presentations that students prepare independently or in groups, through out the course. This is a great way to develop independent learners and help differentiate your instruction to student needs.


Looking for resources, aligned to standards, to use in your lessons? Here are 3 great places to start:


Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) offers shared resources to all Georgia Public School, MS and HS courses, at this site: http://www.gavirtuallearning.org/Resources.aspx


Open Educational Resources Commons (OER) https://www.oercommons.org/about offers teaching and learning resources that you can freely use and reuse at no cost. In fact, GAVS is a member of the OER Commons and OER offers resources for K-12, University and Professional Learning.


As a Schoology user, you have access to the shared public resources, including lessons, plans, activities and documents, that other Schoology teachers use and share freely. Learn more about using Resources here: https://support.schoology.com/hc/en-us/articles/201001923-Resource-Center-Updated-March-20th-with-Rubrics-Functionality-

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Learning Resources

This month, we are collecting all previous Google Apps for Education learning resources for your reference as you have a bit more time for your own professional learning interests this summer.


Google Slides has a new feature, Presenter Q and A, which allows you to be even more interactive with your audience allowing you to ask for questions and respond to polling. Here is a great "how to" from Alice Keeler, what a great feature when your audience has devices to respond with: http://alicekeeler.com/2016/05/05/google_slides_questions/


All through this current school year Dawson Co. Schools staff have learned to implement Google Apps for Education into their work day and related tasks, from using Gmail to using Docs, Sheets, Slides and more. Starting in the fall, students will have Google accounts with access to these apps and powerful collaboration opportunities. We will find ourselves coaching and teaching our students how to use these tools in our classrooms and this is a serious responsibility. Luckily there are many resources available to help us with this task. Many resources can be found in past issues of this newsletter and many more can be found on the internet.


This is a great resource, provided by Google to learn more about how "DOCs editors" (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings and Forms) work: https://support.google.com/docs#topic=1382883


Here are some PDF documents provided by Google that are great resources to keep close by as a reference:


GMail Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/gmail/cheat-sheet/


Google Drive Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/drive/cheat-sheet/


Google Docs Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/docs/cheat-sheet/


Google Sheets Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/sheets/cheat-sheet/


Google Slides Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/slides/cheat-sheet/


Google Forms Cheat Sheet

https://apps.google.com/learning-center/products/forms/cheat-sheet/


This is a great resource, provided by Google to learn more about getting started with Google Apps https://apps.google.com/learning-center/


Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and specifically, Google Drive and YouTube give teachers a great place to store instructional videos they create for the "flipped" classroom. Here is a link to a great Blog entry by Alice Keeler, a teacher who uses and teaches with GAFE each day http://alicekeeler.com/2015/08/30/30-second-videos-for-your-students/


Did you know that as a Google Apps for Education user you have your own YouTube account? YouTube is a powerful resource for learning. Good teachers are always sharing good resources, and you can share a great Youtube resource with others. Paola Epstein, DCHS Spanish teacher shares this great link to many YouTube resources http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/teaching-youtube-197-digital-channels-learning/


Good teachers are always sharing good resources, and you can share a great Youtube resource with others. Watch this quick lesson on "Three Ways to Share a YouTube Video" https://www.thegooru.com/three-ways-to-share-a-youtube-video/


Google also offers free, online training that you can participate in, at your own pace. Lessons are broken up into building skills to implement GAFE into your classroom. Upon completion and passing an exam, you can earn Google Certification. Explore this website for more information: https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/


Looking for more information and tutorials about working with Google Apps for Education?


One great site to visit is https://www.thegooru.com/. The newsletter is free and has great step by step directions for using Google Apps. Google Apps are available to all Dawson County School employees, and in the future, to all Dawson County school students.


Check out this link from http://www.freetech4teachers.com/, a great website to explore. Richard Byrne has compiled over 70 short tutorials on using Google Apps

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/p/google-tools-tutorials.html#.VjDhv66rTUJ


Get to know the power of Google Forms with these two videos:

http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2015/10/an-introduction-to-google-forms-for.html#.VjIDlq6rTUI


Alice Keeler at http://www.alicekeeler.com/teachertech/ is a teacher and Google Certified Educator, and her website is a wonderful place to find out how to implement Google into your classroom.


Here is a link to a collection of Google Apps for Education that Pioneer RESA collected, a great place to learn more https://www.pioneerresa.org/Google.php

A Tip of The Hat!

A Tip of the Hat to Cherie Powell, media specialist at RVMS. RVMS Asst. Principal Denise Hunt reports "I cannot express enough gratitude to Cherie Powell, RVMS Media Specialist, for always preparing our technology devices throughout the entire year, whether it be for GMAS, DQAs, SLOs, or just day to day use. She amazes me how she can take on such a huge challenge, that is quite complicated at times, and do it with a smile and such calmness. Cherie utilizes Google Drawings which creates a great visual (flow chart) for sharing devices during our assessments. Thank you Cherie Powell for all that you do!"


A Tip of the Hat to Stephanie Danuser who is creating an end of the year video with BMES staff to share with students for the last week of school.


A Tip of the Hat to Brittany Hunt who will be offering augmented reality software training to teachers at Riverview Elementary in May. Tana Martin, RVES Media Specialist reports, "Ms. Hunt is a wealth of knowledge about various technology tools and spends a great deal of personal time staying current and exploring trends in technology."


A Tip of the Hat to Executive Director of Technology, Roman Gaddis who has proven to be an effective agent of change. From leading and supporting new technologies and strategies to meeting with students and parents explaining opportunities in the future, he is building a foundation for technology integration efforts in our school system.

Tech Tips

As we finish up the school year, just one tech tip to consider. Technology is simply one tool we use to accomplish the task and goal. Effective technology strategies may engage our students and improve student achievement, but teachers are the enablers of success in the classroom. Teachers are the agent of change in classroom, developing positive relationships with students and encouraging students to do their best as they prepare for the future.


For more daily tech tips, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dcschoolstech

and on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/DCSchoolsTech/instructional-technology/

Summer Professional Learning at the Allen Street Technology Center

Starting Tuesday May 31 and each week day through Monday, June 13, Mr. Harrison will be providing learning opportunities for Google Apps for Education integration and Schoology integration. Instruction will be in small groups and focused on the needs and interests of our learners. Be sure to bring your MacBook! Morning sessions will start at 8:00am and end at 11:00am. Afternoon sessions will begin at 1:00pm and end at 3:00pm.


Please email Neil Harrison mailto:nharrison@dawson.k12.ga.us as per which sessions you would like to attend.


Here are the sessions scheduled:

  1. Tuesday, May 31, Google Apps in the morning, Schoology in the afternoon
  2. Wednesday, June 1, Schoology in the morning, Google Apps in the afternoon
  3. Thursday, June 2, Google Apps in the morning, Schoology in the afternoon
  4. Friday, June 3, Schoology in the morning, Google Apps in the afternoon
  5. Monday, June 6, Google Apps in the morning, Schoology in the afternoon
  6. Tuesday, June 7, Schoology in the morning, Google Apps in the afternoon
  7. Wednesday, June 8, Google Apps in the morning, Schoology in the afternoon
  8. Thursday, June 9, Schoology in the morning, Google Apps in the afternoon
  9. Friday, June 10, Google Apps in the morning, Schoology in the afternoon
  10. Monday, June 13, Schoology in the morning, Google Apps in the afternoon