Category Archives: NL

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

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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 is coming

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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.

With Great Options Comes Great Responsibility

We know that teachers are wiling to devote a large amount of time to finding the right resources to help their students.  That said, when it comes to technology, the universe of options can sometimes be, well, overwhelming.  So we’ve made some resources to help folks wade through all those options while paying attention to all the necessary moving parts.

  • If you are looking for iPad apps be sure to look at the district’s list of LTP Provided and Recommended Apps.These apps are more focused towards secondary, with more choices and options for elementary as we get closer to their iPad device rollout.
  • If you are looking at an app beyond the provided and recommended apps please read the iOS App Selection Guidelines first.
  • To help you navigate different issues with third-party websites and tools beyond district provided or recommended options, you’ll want to explore the district’s supplemental instructional resources guide. Also, if a website requires any student data, you need to be aware of the details in the District Guidelines of 3rd Party Web/App Services.  (You can always ask your friendly neighborhood Instructional Technology Coordinator if you need assistance with the details.)
  • Before you head out into new tool territory, it is always a good idea to look to the student homepage, Ceran, to know what tools students already have access to.

There is quite a bit there, and we hope you’ll let us know if you need help navigating the process.

Join Us for a Book Study and Conversation Series on Connected Learning

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 10.10.55 AMDo devices arriving in the Fall have you feeling a little unprepared? Do you find yourself excited about the prospects of teaching in a connected classroom, and yet also unsure where to start? Have you dabbled with connected learning in the past and are looking for a group of like-minded folks to push your thinking?

If you answered, “Yes,” or even, “Maybe,” to the questions above, you’re going to want to join the SVVSD ITC’s book study of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom.

The book offers an introduction to the principles of Connected Learning as well as real-world classroom examples from classroom teachers across the country who share their stories of leveraging connected classrooms to increase their students’ abilities to create and connect in the world at large.

Who: Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the book study which will be facilitated by SVVSD Instructional Technology Coordinators Bud Hunt and Zac Chase.

What: An informal study of Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom.

When: The group will hold meetings twice each week on Tuesday at 3:30 PM and Thursday at 8:30:30 PM beginning June 3, taking a recess throughout July and then continuing in August with a concluding meeting the week of August 18:30. Participants are welcome to join either or both weekly calls. (All times MST.) Please help us plan by filling out this short form to let us know when to look for you.

Where: The meetings will take place in Adobe Connect in this classroom (https://connect.svvsd.org/connectedlearning/). The book can be downloaded as a free PDF here or for $.99 from the Amazon Kindle Store here.

Why: As our classrooms become places of greater and greater connectivity, it is incumbent upon us as teachers to consider the best ways to leverage that connectivity to help students learn and impact the world in which they live.

Connected Learning Principles:

Connected learning is…

  • interest-powered,
  • peer-supported,
  • academically, oriented,
  • production-centered,
  • openly networked,
  • and driven by shared purpose.
DISCUSSION SCHEDULE
Content Discussion Dates and Times
Foreword & Introduction 6/3 @ 3:30PM or 6/5 @ 8:30PM
Chapter 1 – Interest-Driven Learning 6/10 @ 3 PM or 6/12 @ 8:30 PM
Chapter 2 – Peer-Supported Learning 6/17 @ 3:30PM or 6/19 @ 8:30 PM
Chapter 3 – Academically-Oriented Teaching 6/24 @ 3:30PM or 6/26 @ 8:30 PM
JULY RECESS
Chapter 4 – Production-Centered Classrooms 8/5 @ 3:30PM or 8/7 @ 8:30PM
Chapter 5 – Openly Networked 8/12 @ 3:30PM or 8/14 @ 8:30PM
Chapter 6 – Shared Purpose & Conclusion 8/19 @ 3:30PM or 8/21 @ 8:30PM

Please help us plan by letting us know you’re interested via this short form. Thanks!

Modules: Data Viz, HS Internet Wellness, and Digital Storytelling

We’ve got three new modules fresh out of the Cubidrome Lab, ready for your professional learning pleasure.

Last night, we took, Data Visualization in the ClassroomDigital Storytelling as Evidence of Learning, and Internet Wellness and Digital Citizenship in High School live for anyone with an account on our MOODLE install.

We’re excited about the first two modules because of their high focus on literacy (visual and traditional) as well as their focus on asking students to create and read closely when working with varying kinds of texts across disciplines.

Here is the lowdown on each module:

  • Participants will complete this module with the ability to seek out, evaluate and then utilize data visualizations in their classrooms using mobile devices.

EQ:

  • Where can I find quality data visualizations?
  • How can I best evaluate data visualization resources?
  • How do data visualizations connect with the SVVSD curricula?
  • How can I integrate the use of data visualizations into my teaching practices?

Obj:

  • Participants will complete this module with the ability to seek out, evaluate and then utilize data visualizations in their classrooms using mobile devices.

EQ:

  • Where can I find quality data visualizations?
  • How can I best evaluate data visualization resources?
  • How do data visualizations connect with the SVVSD curricula?
  • How can I integrate the use of data visualizations into my teaching practices?

Obj:

  • Participants will complete this module able to understand, explain and put into practice lessons and practices to help high school students maintain their wellness in online spaces as well as behave as responsible citizens in those spaces.

EQ:

  • What are habits high school students can put into place to maintain their wellness in online spaces?
  • What are responsible practices of online citizens?
  • What resources can I utilize to learn and teach these habits and practices?
  • How do I help students understand these habits and practices in my teaching?

Free resources with public library card!

Have you visited your Public Library’s website lately?  Our local public libraries provide an abundance of online resources FREE!  All you need is your own computer, laptop, or mobile device and a free library card to access eBooks, Audio Books, online magazines, online music, and more!  Most resources are downloadable to a variety of mobile devices, including iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, Android phones, and Kindles.

Our middle school students will have easy access to all their school library e-resources and all their public library e-resources when they are issued SVVSD iPads this fall.  Public library resources can be easily accessed from the library websites and sometimes there’s an app for that!


Do you live in the City of Longmont?  Check out the Longmont Public Library 24/7 page of eResources for education and enjoyment.  Here’s just a small sample of downloads available:

zinio_000novelist200Audio books & eBooks usingOverDrive, including current Bestselling Fiction, Non-Fiction, Teen books, Kid books, Classics, and more.

Not sure what to read?  Try using NoveList to find some great fiction and escape into a good book.

75 of your favorite magazines using Zinio, including Car & Driver, Newsweek, National Geographic, Runner’s World, Dog’s Life, Consumer Reports, and PC Magazine to name a few.


Do you live in Frederick, Firestone, Dacono, Erie or Mead?  You belong to the High Plains Library District. Visit their Online Resource Center page to sample all the free eResources provided for library card holders.

Have you tried Freegal yet?  It is a database of hundreds of thousands of songs and you can download 3 songs per week, FREE! freegal1 They don’t expire so these songs will be yours forever.    Freegal also includes music videos.  Download the app from your App Store and start listening today.

Access Science provides articles, images, video, study guides, biographies, and more in all the sciences for research and enjoyment.  A great supplement for students of the sciences.

Would you like to access your library’s eBooks and Audio Books?  Follow these instructions to download Overdrive Media Console on your computer or mobile device, then start shopping!

Low-cost internet for home

This information is for our SVVSD community members.  Please help spread the word to those who may qualify for Internet service for as low as $9.95 per month.

Comcast, Century Link, and the City of Longmont all offer assistance programs for families so they can have inexpensive access to the internet in their homes.  To be eligible, a family must either receive Federal assistance through a program like the National School Lunch Program or the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or the family income must be within a certain limit.

Below you’ll find links to their websites with an application with specific guidelines, available in English and in Spanish.

When you talk to a family about internet options for their home, please include discussion about filtered internet (at school and the public library) and unfiltered internet (at people’s home, coffee shops, etc).  Many parents don’t understand the difference and helping create the awareness that home internet is unfiltered may encourage parents to be in touch with their children about their internet usage.

 

Comcast Internet Essentials ProgramCentury
  
Comcast provides low-cost Internet connectivity, affordable computers and digital literacy training through its Internet Essentials program.  Internet Essentials provides broadband Internet at $9.95 a month and a voucher that will entitle a family to buy a laptop for the discounted price of $149.99. 
  
For information and qualifications on Comcast’s Internet Essentials program call 855-846-8376 or visit www.internetessentials.com.

 

CenturyLink Internet Basics Program

Offers Internet service to low-income households in Colorado for $9.95 a month.download
Those who qualify for the state’s Low-Income Telephone Assistance (Lifeline) program are eligible for the discounted broadband service from CenturyLink, which tops off at 1.5 megabits per second. Faster speeds will cost more.

CenturyLink also offers an Internet-ready netbook to eligible households for $150, plus taxes, shipping and handling.

For information on CenturyLink’s Internet Basics call 866-541-3330 or visit  http://www.centurylink.com/home/internetbasics/ .

Lifeline eligibility requirements are available at    http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDHS-SelfSuff/CBON/1251589753838 .

 

The City of Longmont offers free internet and a free laptop, depending on your income level. – Call Tracy DeFrancesco at 303-774-4445 

To qualify, you must:
live within the city limits
have children in midde or high schools
fall within certain income limits

For example, if you make under $26,000 per year a family of 3 people would qualify for a free laptop & free internet.   If you make under $57,550 family of 3 people would qualify for free internet but no laptop.

The internet provider is Ridgeview Tel and families get a booster device from the City.  The booster allows a desktop or laptop to access the internet when that device is plugged in.  The family must buy their own router ($50-80) to provide wireless in the home so the iPad can connect wirelessly since it does not plug in.  

If you live in the Town of Mead, TV and Internet provider, K2 Communications is working out a low-cost internet option for low-income families.  Call them for details at (970) 535-6323 or visit their website.

5 Links for Monday (on Tuesday 4.8.14)

Welcome back to 5 Links. We’ve got all your linky goodness below, and my browser has been bowing under the weight of these resources for too long. Thanks for taking them off my hands. As always, if you have anything to add or share, please leave it in the comments below or email it to me. Link on!


Link 1 – Let’s Enjoy Space with Friends

The Library of Congress (thanks again, Thomas Jefferson) has curated this special collection “Finding Our Place in the Cosmos: From Galileo to Sagan and Beyond.” It’s got models of the cosmos throughout history, writings, pictures, the works. If you or your students have ever looked to the skies in wonder, you’ll enjoy this.

Link 2 – Google Ad-Ons and an Easy Life

SVVSD’s own Phil Goerner has this piece for the School Library Journal blog with an overview of some of the best add-ons for google in the classroom. Nicely done, Phil. Also, if you need an easy overview, check out ITC Kyle Addington’s explanation here.

Link 3 – The History of a Science Guy

The video above from NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers series is Bill Nye explaining how he became “The Science Guy.” Want kids to get interested in STEM? Let’s start showing them the paths of those who have come before.

Link 4 – Talking Your Comments to Google

Many teachers around the district are latching on the affordances of Google Drive. Sometimes, commenting on student work through typing can slow you down. Enter voice comments. This post from Edudemic walks you through an add-on for voice commenting. If you try it out, let us know what you think.

Link 5 – If you, like, like this, language, like, thing

This piece from the Sunday New York Times looks to the place of “like”  and “totally” in American English, and makes some claims that, contrary to what my grandparents believe, it’s not the harbinger of the end of English that we thought it to be.

Conversations from the Cubidrome Ep. 002: Camp!

In this episode, Bud and Zac, along with Jennifer, discuss summer professional development options in St. Vrain, a little bit of Internet safety, our WordPress installation, the Web filter, and some of the good stuff they’ve seen around the district.

Direct Link to Audio

Show Notes:

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comments.

Guest Post: Explaining the Bill of Rights at Eagle Crest

Amy Dumler, a fifth-grade teacher at Eagle Crest Elementary, shares the story and samples of some of her students using the Explain Everything app to examine the U.S. Bill of Rights.


Amy Dumler

We began by researching and learning about the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  We talked about why each was needed as our country was forming.  I had my students learn/ memorize the first 8 Bill of Rights, then 2 additional amendments of their choice.  It wasn’t just pure memorization, however.  We acted them out, drew illustrations, and found current events that related to each.
Then, the culminating project was for students to make a presentation about them on Explain Everything.  They could use their own illustrations, explanations, etc.  In addition, they could record their own voice explaining each Bill of Right, find editorial comics or current event titles to illustrate the meaning of each, or add anything that would enhance their presentation.
Students took this project to all different levels. I found that by opening it up for them to bring in different technological elements (as well as their own creativity), they could make connections and deepen their understanding of the Bill of Rights– compared to when I’ve taught it in the past.
Here are some examples of student work.

Jacob’s Video Explanation of the Bill of Rights

Riley’s Explanation of the Bill of Rights

Sydney’s Explanation of the Bill of Rights