All posts by Kyle Addington

Schoology round-up

schoology logoIt has been a pretty remarkable first year for Schoology in St. Vrain. In this post I’ll go over some of the highlights and what to get ready for next year.

 

End of Year Best Practice (BACKUP YOUR COURSE)

It is time to start thinking about packing up your Schoology course and getting it ready for next fall. Bradley Kemp at Schoology made a very concise video explaining the process and you can use this Google Doc to step you through the process as well.

Gradebook

The gradebook in Schoology got an overhaul this year, and added some nice features. But, the biggest question is ‘will the Schoology gradebook sync with the Infinite Campus gradebook’? Unfortunately, that answer is still no and that isn’t going to change for next year either. While there have been some positive steps in that direction, Schoology doesn’t plan on having a working demo ready before 2017 and even then, there questions about if this could be a nightly sync or just and end of term sync.

Usage

Here are some numbers from the last 7 months:

  • 743,132 assignments have been turned in via Schoology
  • 542,637 file uploads
  • 43 Million page views

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 2.34.09 PM

All Grade Courses

Next year each school will have the option to establish an ‘All Grade’ course. This course would have all the students for a particular grade enrolled in it for that school year. These courses were created to meet the needs expressed by our counseling staff to reach students on time sensitive items and to deliver specific resources. The All Grade courses also address the issue in our Elementary schools of teachers needing to have access to students not assigned to them in their AM Attendance of Infinite Campus. The elementary grade level teachers will be instructors of these courses and the building counselors will be the instructors in the secondary courses.

To establish these courses next Fall the Secondary registrars will need to use the IC ‘Scheduling Wizard’ and Elementary registrars will need to contact Lorraine Baxter or Karen Edwards at the helpdesk.

Schoology Tip- Reorder Courses

Schoology is proving to be a valuable tool for many teachers and students in the district. We thought it would be a good idea to use this blog space to share some tips you might not have known about.

This week- Reorder your course

We can’t delete or change the name of courses but we can change how they are listed. To get started go to a web browser and click on ‘Courses’. Find duel sided arrow in the bottom bar, and then click and drag how you see fit.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.58.29 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 11.59.32 AM

 

 

Schoology is coming

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.24.29 PM

Schoology (pronounced  Skool’uh-jee), our new Learning Management System, is coming to all students and staff for the 2015-2016 school year. This system will support a wide variety of people and needs across SVVSD, including a digital platform for classroom learning, staff professional development, and streamlined class information for parents.

The first opportunity for SVVSD staff to explore Schoology is coming this May. You should expect an email during the next two weeks informing you how to log in and ways you can learn more. To get a better sense of what Schoology is please check out the Beginners Guide To Using Schoology post. Building leadership will have the ability to set school expectations around the use of Schoology.

Highlights

  • Courses will be pre-populated with class roster information from Infinite Campus. Teachers won’t have to manage student enrollment inside of Schoology, and students will not need to make accounts.
  • A dedicated iOS app for use on student and teacher iPads.
  • Integration with Google Drive.
  • Classes.svvsd.org (Moodle) courses can be  transferred to Schoology, but Moodle will still be available for the 2015-2016 school year.

What it is

  • A tool to help bridge the learning that happens in the physical classroom to a digital space.
    • Tools include calendar, quizzes, notifications, discussion boards, portfolios, blog space, groups.

What it is not

  • A replacement for Infinite Campus.
    • All official grades will still be kept in IC.
    • Grades entered in Schoology will not be passed back to IC automatically.

Our goal for using Schoology in the St. Vrain Valley School District is to provide the highest quality digital learning environment possible for students, teachers, parents and district administrators. With St. Vrain continuing to implement the Learning Technology Plan, we see Schoology being an important conduit in our learning environment.

Timeline & Professional Development Opportunities

Week of 05/04: Finish creation of teacher accounts and establish district awareness.

Week of 05/11: Training for Schoology Contacts and Building Technology Contacts on Thursday, May 14th.

Week of 05/18: Open drop-in labs to learn more about Schoology hosted at various buildings in the district.

Week of 05/25: Camp iPad East (Frederick High) with Schoology sessions and Schoology information booth.

Week of 06/01: Camp iPad West (Longmont High) with Schoology sessions and Schoology information booth.

Week of 06/09: Camp iPad Leadership (Trail Ridge Middle) with Schoology sessions and Schoology information booth.

Week of 08/03: Elementary Tech Camp (Thunder Valley K-8) with Schoology sessions and Schoology information booth.

Week of 08/10: Schoology info at NTO & a second Schoology Contact and Building Technology Contact training at Altona Middle on 08/13.

Week of 08/17: Building trainings (time set by schools) to get teachers started on Schoology.

Google+ in SVVSD

google-plus-buttonBeginning in 2015, SVVSD is allowing staff members the opportunity to add Google+ to their SVVSD Google Apps account. Google requires a person to be older than 18 years to use Google+. For this reason, St. Vrain students will not be able to utilize this feature.

Google+ is a social network that builds off of your SVVSD Google account and adds additional features and functionality. It is possible to post and interact with people outside of SVVSD on Google+ but there is no requirement to do so. If you choose to post to Google+ using your district SVVSD account, be mindful of district policy EHC-R Responsible Use Guidelines.

Support: Google+ and the related tools are not considered ‘primary tools’ like Docs, Mail, Calendar and Sites so you will need to rely on the Google+ Help Center for support. The SVVSD HelpDesk may be able to help if you are having issues, but Google+ and the related tools won’t be top priority.

Activate: To activate your Google+ account you will need to complete the following form: Request to enable Google+ (Plus).  Your account will be enabled within 2 business days. Once your account is enabled, you will need to establish a Google+ Profile by going to plus.google.com or by finding your name with + at the end of it in the upper right of your email inbox.

In the next few weeks, we will post more information about how to get the most out of this new set of tools.

LTP Spotlight on Practice: Formative Assessment

Altona Middle School 6th grade language arts teacher Ali Knight talks about how she has established routine and used the iPads for formative assessment.

  • Apps mentioned in the video:
    Notabality– An annotation and note taking tool purchased by the district for every LTP iPad.
    News O’ Matic– An age appropriate news source purchased by Altona Middle School.
    Edmodo– A classroom management app Ali discovered. Used primarily for the quiz feature.

To see the full list of the SVVSD LTP Provided and Recommended Apps please click here.

 

SVVSD LMS Committee

IMG_0098For the next several months a committee of teachers, principals and district administrators will take on the task of evaluating different Learning Management System solutions for the district. The work of this committee will result in recommendations to superintendent’s cabinet of at least one potential LMS solution and ideal implementation conditions to roll out for the 2015-16 school year. Parallel to the work of the LMS committee DTS will evaluate the LMS solutions from the technical perspective. The committee met for the first time Tuesday with the goal of defining how an LMS could best serve St. Vrain and developing a rubric to evaluate LMS solutions. The rubric is still in process but you can see the messy version of that work here.

I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the team we have assembled for the task and well they worked together at our first meeting. As a group we will only meet twice in a face-to-face manner so it was important to build relationships quickly so would could establish a shared purpose and vision.

The best way to follow along with the process will be to continue checking in on our publicly viewable Google+ SVVSD LMS Committee Community. On that page you find links to our meeting agendas, our rubric (still being formulated), what LMS solutions we are looking at and when (still being finalized) and questions and comments of the committee members. This blog will serve as a place for the SVVSD and public communities to provide feedback. You could also email committee facilitators  Kyle Addington (addington_kyle@svvsd.org)  & Greg George (george_gregory@svvsd.org) directly if you have questions as well.

Here are a few of the details:

  • October 6th- LMS Committee Application was sent out to all of SVVSD staff
  • October 30th- LMS Committee Members were selected
  • November 11th- First LMS Committee meeting
  • Week of Nov 17 – Research & Readiness
    • Finalize Rubric & determine LMS candidates
  • Week of Dec 1 – Evaluate LMS candidate #1
  • Week of Dec 8 – Evaluate LMS candidate #2
  • Week of Dec 15 – Evaluate LMS candidate #3
  • Week of Jan 5 – Evaluate LMS candidate #4
  • Week of Jan 12 – Evaluate LMS candidate #5
  • January 20th – Second LMS Committee meeting
    • Create recommendation to be delivered to the superintendent’s cabinet

 

Social Studies on Devices

IMAG0074This week we concluded our first Social Studies on Devices face-to-face course. (there is also an online LTP Learning Module of the same name) The two day, four hour course was attended by 13 middle school social studies teachers. Why such an interest from middle school teachers? Well it turns out they have an acute interest in learning how integrate iPads into their classrooms before all of their students show up with them in the fall. I wanted to post about the class because I think all teachers could benefit from what we learned and discussed, not to mention it will remind me what we did during the class next time it is offered. I’m guessing at this time next year high school social studies teachers will be coming in droves to prepare for their student having devices.

Huge thanks to Justin Crane of Westview and Adam Wellington of Coal Ridge for being in the class and sharing their experience as teachers in our iPad Readiness Schools. They have been up the mountain, been pushed down the mountain, and have climbed back up the mountain. Justin shared and amazing activity with his students using Thinglink and Adam walked us through his use of NearPod in his classroom. Their willingness to share their stories and experience was a huge value to the teachers beginning the journey. Here are some (rough) quotes they shared they shared with the group:

“When I saw the kids doing things to demonstrate their learning that I didn’t even know was possible. Things that were more powerful than I had seen in my teaching career before….That’s when I drank the Kool-aid”

“I was expecting one of the toughest things would be figuring out how to manage the students with devices, but I actually think it has been easier. When I have a good plan in place the kids are engaged and I find myself facilitating learning rather than managing a class”

“It is completely OK not to be an expert and many times the kids will be the experts and answer questions and troubleshoot many issues”

“You truly do become more of their facilitator or guide as they explore, learn and create. The information is out there, so your role as the source of knowledge is not as necessary as it once was. It is amazing just how creative and collaborative the kids get to be with their devices.”

Ideas and Concepts

In small groups we took a look at the standards at each grade level and discussed “What do we want to see our students doing with devices? Each group came up with numerous good ideas and here are a few of them:

  • Project based learning
  • Collaborating with other kids
  • Having choice in their learning
  • Research, building stuff, creating and presenting
  • Accessing current events
  • Accessing the outside world

We also took time to discuss good classroom management strategies, appropriate student use, workflow and assignment management between students and teacher and had a healthy discussion about just how often iPads needed to be used in the classroom.

Tools

After considering what we wanted our student to be doing we started exploring different tools. Below is a list of apps explored but not meant to be ‘the list’ for social studies. However, a number of people found potential value of the apps explored.

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 12.40.35 PMWe started off looking at the suite of apps that will be provided to all SVVSD students and teachers in the LTP Provided and Recommended Apps list Then took a peek in the iTunes Apps store at some apps they curated for Middle School teachers. The rest of the apps were either suggested, or discovered by the group. If you have any other social studies related apps, or project examples please share them in the comments below.


 

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 12.34.36 PM

Pocket Law Firm

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 1.05.26 PM

 Too noisy

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 1.08.29 PM

A+ Flashcard

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.45.44 PM

Ken Burns American History

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.27.24 PM

National Archives Today’s Documents

 


 

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 3.38.46 PM

Google Earth

 


Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.04.56 PM

National Geographic World Atlas ($1.99)

 


 

Multiple users in Chrome

A couple of times the past month I have been asked to share how I set up my Chrome browser on a desktop. I use both a personal and work Google account (svvsd.org) and would sometimes run into trouble opening docs, or looking at email when I was using the same browser window for both accounts.  This is slightly tricky because you can sign in the Chrome browser by going to setting AND you can sign in to Google/Gmail/Drive by going to the website.  I created two users in Chrome so I can keep those two accounts completely separate. This allows me to open two windows at the same time and not have to sign in and out of both accounts. The directions are below:

Add a new user

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar and select Settings.Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 2.44.20 PM
  2. In the “Users” section, click Add new user.
  3. A confirmation dialog appears, choose a picture and enter a name for the new Chrome user. Note: When you add a new Chrome user a desktop shortcut is created by default. If you don’t want a desktop shortcut uncheck the “Add desktop shortcut” checkbox.
  4. Click Create.

View the Google Help section on the topic

Also, if you have children using the computer you can create a supervised user in Chrome and limit access to a few sites, or track browsing history. Read more on that here.

Google Add-ons

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.35.20 PM

You may have noticed a little shake up in our Google Docs over the last week. Google has rolled out a new feature to Google Doc and Google Sheets called ‘Add on’s’. Add on’s are developed by third party vendors, and other Google Developers to add additional functionality to Docs and Sheets. You can read more about what ‘Add on’s’ are on the Google Drive blog here, but don’t hesitate to check them out on your own.

*Important note* If you want to check out ‘Add on’s’ in Sheets you will need to follow these steps to turn Sheets on.

– Open Google Drive and go to the ‘Setting’ gear on the right hand side of the screen.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.40.30 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Open the Editing tab and ‘Try the new Google Sheets’

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 2.40.44 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a teacher that uses Google Docs with your students be sure to take a look Doctopus and Googbric. Powerful Add on’s that can distribute folders and docs to students like a giant digital copy machine. Oh, and you can attach a digital rubric to each document as well.

Here is a fantastic post from Silver Creek librarian Phil Goerner published in the School Library Journal.