Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Introducing... Book Spins! October/Halloween Edition #OctBookSpin

What is a Book Spin?
A "Book Spin" is a collection of activities that correlates back to a specific book. The idea for this project came about after an exciting response after Dot Day - a "theme" day that was centered around a book. We saw teachers doing so many cool and creative things that we wanted to do more with the idea of a theme day that centers around a book. The Book Spin presented here was a collaborative project created by specialists, consultants, coaches, and teachers in Godfrey-Lee Public Schools.

For each Book Spin, you may choose to either read the book out loud with students or there is also a recording of the book that is read aloud and shared online. After reading/listening to the book with your students, take an opportunity to explore one of the curriculum spins based on the book. There are a variety of different activities to choose from! These spins are meant to be starting points - feel free to use them as they are, modify them, or create your own!

After completing an activity with your students, we would love to see what you have done! Share your book spin implementation on Twitter using the hashtag ​#OctBookSpin.

October Book Spin Reading Selection - Big Pumpkin
Below is the recording of the selected book for October's Book Spin, Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman.

If you are unable to view the video below, please click here.

Curriculum "Spins" on Big Pumpkin
In the presentation below, you will be able to view many different curriculum spins you may use in your classroom that use the book "Big Pumpkin" as a starting conversation point. Feel free to use one, two, three, or all of them with your students!

If you are unable to view the presentation below, please click here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

How To: Forwarding Student Email Account to Staff Email Account

As teachers have a separate email account in the student domain for email communication and Google Drive document sharing.  This can be helpful for keeping student communications separate, but sometimes creates an extra step in opening another tab/window/browser to access that account.  Google provides some flexibility within your accounts and allows you to forward email from one account to another.  This can be helpful in forwarding your email from your student account to your staff account.

To forward your email from one Google account to another Google account:
  1. Open the Gmail account that you want to forward from (student account).
  2. At the top right, click the gear .
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
  5. Click Add a forwarding address in the “Forwarding” section.
  6. Enter the email address you want to forward to (staff email address).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Student Device Management Tips

Are you looking for some management tips for student devices in your classroom? Listed below are some suggestions that might provide some helpful tips.

  1. Create a system: When managing devices it is important to have a system that your class is familiar with. Making sure your devices are labeled is a great way to keep track of what device is which. Try using a labeling method that is durable but doesn’t permanently engrave the device. If you need assistance labeling your devices feel free to ask a tech team member for help.

  1. Create a Checkout Process: Assigning your students a number that corresponds to a specific device in your cart will help you keep track of which student has what device and will help narrow down the pool of responsible students if a device was to go missing or suffer damage. Try labeling your storage slots inside your cart so students know exactly where to place their device.

  1. Use Collateral: If you are permitting your devices to be used outside of the classroom, make your students give you a piece of collateral. The best form of collateral would be a form of ID or a cell phone even. This will increase the chances that a student returns the device, but will also give you a way of knowing who took a device out of the classroom.

  1. Do an hourly inventory: At the end of every hour, take a look at your cart to make sure all devices are in your charging cart and accounted for. If your storage slots are labeled, you will be able to do a quick glance and see which device is missing. You can then refer back to your checkout list to see which student last used the device.

  1. Appoint a Student Tech: Appoint a responsible student who will be in charge of managing the device accountability system. It might be a good idea to appoint a few alternates as well. This will be useful when you have a substitute teacher in the room.

If a device of yours is missing from your cart, please alert a member of the tech team immediately. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to track a device down. If it is confirmed that a device was stolen, we can notify the authorities and seek recovery or replacement of the device.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rebel U 2015 - Looking to the Future

Our GLPS Tech & Media Team loves to make Rebel U a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone, but we do take our job very seriously as far as how it relates to district and school improvement plans.  Each year, we set goals and objectives for the day (2015 goals and objectives can be found here) and we use these to help guide

As part of the evaluation, we ask all attendees to rate the intended goals and objectives as they feel they were implemented and evident throughout the day.  Below are charts that reflect the answers to statements each attendee was given.  It is always part of our process to reflect on what our attendees think and areas for us to grow!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Students Show Some Teacher Love at Rebel U 2015 #rebelu15

The objective of Rebel U is to provide teachers with quality professional development that helps them leverage available technology resources to support student learning and classroom instruction.  This day would not be possible though if it weren't for the amazing teachers we have in our district, but also if it weren't for the students who show up everyday and have just as much of an impact on our teachers as our teachers do on them.

At the end of last school year, we asked students in all of the buildings to share what they liked about their teachers and how they have made an impact on their learning.  After gathering responses, we asked teachers on the final day of school to read what some of their students had to say.  It was truly touching to hear teachers read, laugh, and maybe have a few tears over their students' sentiments.  We recorded this readings as a way of documenting the great things that are going on in our district and the impact our teachers have on our students, inside and outside the classroom.

In addition to creating the video, we also created several "boards" that we posted in the building for everyone to see (and we were able to include more student comments this way!).  The questions we asked our students (to fit with our Disney Heroes and Villains theme):

  • ECC K-2 students: Why is your teacher one in a "minion?"
  • Godfrey Elementary 3-5 students: How has your teacher helped you or lifted you up this year?
  • Lee Middle School 6-8 students: Which teacher has made an impact on your learning and why?
  • 9-12 students:  What is your favorite memory of a teacher that you would like to freeze in time?

If you are unable to view the video below, please click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Rebel U 2015 - Heroes and Villains #rebelu15

For the past several years for Rebel U, our Technology & Media Team decides on a theme for the day, which we try to carry over through our yearly professional development.  We try to do this to provide consistency in our publications, keep the Rebel U spirt from the beginning of the year alive throughout the whole school year, and most importantly, for fun!  One thing our team works really hard to do is provide quality professional learning that is a little different from traditional learning opportunities.  We try to not make the whole day a bunch of "sit and get" learning, but encourage our presenters to be hands-on with the participants, think outside the box for presentation methods, and in general, make the learning fun for those in sessions.  Our theme provides our presenters with opportunities to have fun with their content and it also gives our participants a chance to dress to match the theme!

The themes we have had in the past are:
2010: Inaugural year of Rebel U - no theme
2011: Innovation Through Collaboration
2012: weLearn
2013: A Day with the Stars
2014: Superheroes
2015: Heroes and Villains

As part of our registration this year, we asked participants to share their favorite Disney Hero or Villain as well as their favorite Disney movie.   This year in particular, we used the responses we gathered for our student response project and inspiration for our photo booth props.  So, what did our participants tell us were some of their favorites?

Rebel U 2015 {All About Our Attendees} #rebelu15

Each year, our presenters are key components in making our day successful, but each and every person who attends Rebel U is just as important.  At Rebel U, we have teachers, consultants, itinerant staff, and administrators who attend sessions.  One thing that we are proud to offer each person who attends is the choice to attend sessions that are of interest to them.  We do not dictate which sessions participants attend, as we want each person to get the most out of Rebel U.  By having the opportunity to personalize and self-directing their own professional learning, we hope that Rebel U provides an unique and individualized learning experience.  After all, we want our students to have unique learning experiences that set them up for success, so why not give our teaching staff that same opportunity?

Below are several graphs that share a little bit of basic information about our attendees for Rebel U 2015.  We use the information from these graph snapshots to see that we are providing session opportunities for all teachers (based on pre-registration) as well as any trends we see in preferences, needs, and feedback from previous years.  We love our teachers and are grateful for their continued support, participation, and open minds to the learning opportunities that Rebel U presents!

Rebel U 2015 {All About Our Presenters} #rebelu15

Rebel U is right around the corner and presenters work hard every year to put together amazing presentations.  This year is no exception to that statement!  Every year, we are amazed, impressed, blow away, and inspired by the ideas that our presenters step forward to share with their peers.  To celebrate the amazing things our amazing presenters are sharing this year, we wanted to share some amazing data about what Rebel U has to offer attendees this year!

Below is data that we have collected and would like to share about our presenters this year.  We are excited to have presenters from every building and almost every grade level!

If you would like to view our agenda for Rebel U 2015, please click here.

If you would like to view the session descriptions for Rebel U 2015, please click here.

6 Years of Learning, Sharing, and Fun for Rebel U! #rebelu15

Six years ago, Rebel U resulted from a plea for time for technology professional development.  Our teachers were always asking for it and our Technology & Media Team always was open to providing it,  but it was often hard to make worlds collide.  Back in 2010, Superintendent Britten provided our Technology & Media Team with a day to provide technology professional development to our professional teaching staff.  At this time, we were preparing for some big roll-outs (implementing Stone-ware and Google Apps).  Our team brainstormed and decided we wanted to plan a professional development day that was similar to that of MACUL.  With lots of hours brainstorming, planning, and designing, we were able to put together our first Rebel U technology professional development day.

Fast-forward five years later and we have been fortunately able to hold Rebel U every year for our staff.  This day continues with success every year because of the amazing presenters that step forward to share what they are doing in their classrooms, what they have learned about technology, or lead a discussion about how technology can leveraged in the classroom.  To make this happen, every year, about late winter/early spring, we send out our Call for Presenters for Rebel U.  When we open this call, we welcome all of our teachers, consultants, and outside consultants to be a part of our day by being a presenter.  As the world of education loves data, we have tried to collect data about our presenters and the sessions they share over the past six years.  This is by no means meant to be an evaluation of any individual, but rather data that validates the need for Rebel U, the diversity of presenters, content, session topic areas, and related professional standards that were addressed.  To maintain an annual professional program, we feel it is important to constantly evaluate our delivered program to the needs expressed by our professional teaching staff.

In addition to collecting this data about our program, we believe it is important in sharing as it can only make what we offer even better.  We do not try to hide anything about what we do (although we do like to keep some surprises under our sleeve until the day of Rebel U every year!), as someone might be able to notice something that we might have overlooked.  Below is information that we have gathered over the past six years about our presenters.  As we vary our Call for Presenters every year to make sure we are fitting the needs of our staff, some questions are not asked of our presenters every year.

We are looking forward to another fun year of learning and sharing at Rebel U 2015!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

9 Ways to Have Fun at Rebel U: Version 2.0

The other day, I wrote a post, "9 Ways to Have Fun at Rebel U".   One thing I was introduced to at the Podstock conference I went to this summer was the concept of Sketchnotes.  Since then, I have been hooked on trying to practice on what it means to bring the verbal world into the visual world.  So I thought I would use one of my own blog posts to practice Sketchnoting and take a risk and share my notes.

One of the great things I keep reading about Sketchnotes is that it is not about drawings/art, but about the idea.  What might be a meaningful sketch to me to remember a concept or idea might not mean anything to the rest of the people in the room or who are looking at my notes.  Some of sketches below are actually clipart images and digital typography that I combined with my own original sketches (pretty sure it is easy to pick out my originals!).  For my drawing, I used the Paper app on my iPad, a stylus, PowerPoint, and Photoshop (simply to merge three images together to form one).  Sketchnoting could could be done digitally, on paper with a pen/marker, or a combination of both.  What I have learned is it is all about finding your style and what works best for you!

Monday, August 17, 2015

10 Ways to be a Super Session Presenter at Rebel U

Rebel U is right around the corner and presenters work hard every year to put together amazing presentations.

A while ago, I read an article about the Podstock conference and one of the organizers, Ginger Lewman, wrote a blog post about "10 Ways to be a Phenomenal Podstock Presenter".  In following their Facebook page, I found they posted some neat things to prep their presenters for their professional development conference.  I thought she had many great ideas on how to prepare presenters for leading a session, so I thought I would share "10 Ways to be a Super Session Presenter at Rebel U"!  Some of the ideas listed below are very similar to the ideas that Ginger Lewman listed, but they are great presentation tips!

10 Ways to be a Super Session Presenter at Rebel U
  1. Teachers like seeing modeling.  If you are presenting about engaging your students in their learning or sharing a hands-on method, make sure your audience has an opportunity to participate in a similar experience.
  2. If you prepare a slideshow presentation, make it visually appealing.  After all, no one really wants to read a PowerPoint presentation...
  3. Post your presentation slideshow, materials, or anything else that might be a great reference to attendees online.
  4. Encourage your attendees to engage in conversation during your session, whether it be face-to-face, online, or through social media.
  5. Actively engage your audience in your session.  No one wants to "sit and get" all day!
  6. Leave time for questions, playing, and practice.
  7. Practice your presentation.  Time it out and add or take out material as necessary.
  8. Bring a dongle (if you have a Mac laptop), charger, and a Plan B (even if it is a mental Plan B!).  Be ready for anything!
  9. Leave your attendees wanting to learn more, talking about your session, or leave them with something that will remind them of your session.  If your session has a story that comes from it, the audience is more likely to remember what your shared.
  10. Don't be afraid to be different and put your best foot forward.  Some of the best presentations are built on taking chances, stepping outside comfort zones, and most of all, sharing what you know and your personal experiences!

9 Ways to Have Fun at Rebel U

Rebel U is not too far off!

Not too long ago, I read an article about the Podstock conference and one of the organizers, Ginger Lewman, wrote a blog post about "7 Ways to be a "Cool Kid" at Podstock 2014".  Coincidentally, the Podstock conference this year was also doing a superhero theme.  In following their Facebook page, I found they posted some neat things to prep people for their professional development conference.  I thought they had a great idea, so I thought I would share "9 Ways to Have Fun at Rebel U"!

9 Ways to Have Fun at Rebel U
  1. Own the theme.  Have fun, dress up, and become involved throughout the day.
  2. Talk to people outside your building. Sometimes, the conversations you have with others outside your building can provide an unique perspective and can add to the value of a session.
  3. Be prepared. Wear comfortable shoes.  Bring your charged device (and charger).  Although the focus of Rebel U is technology, the technology of pencil and paper is also great to have on hand for quickly jotting down ideas and resources. 
  4. Get your picture taken at the photo booth.  If you have ever stopped by the photo booth before, you know you are guaranteed a good time and many belly laughs!
  5. Actively participate in sessions.  Much like students, when you have a hands-on experience and  are actively engaged in the learning process, you are more likely to remember what you have learned.
  6. Engage in social media.  There were many great thoughts and moments captured across different social media platforms last year!  Use the #rebelu15 hashtag on social media to be part of the conversation!  Share thoughts, resources, pictures, and anything else!
  7. Come with a positive attitude and an open mind.  You never know what you might take away from the day when you set aside "limitations" that mentally and/or physically keep you from trying something new.  It doesn't matter which devices or how many devices you have in your classroom, an open mind could open new ways of thinking or conversations for making things work for you.
  8. Contribute.  Contribute to the day in some way.  This could be as simple as stepping outside of your comfort zone and contributing to conversation.  It could be donating something to the day (time, materials, photo booth props, etc.). Or something as simple as dragging a friend into the photo booth.  The more you contribute and participate actively in the day, the more you will take away from it.
  9. Reflect.  We ask everyone to fill out an evaluation at the end of the day.  This is important to the Tech & Media Team for future planning, but also verifies your participation in the day.  Take notes or make a plan for how you would like to use ideas and tools you learned about today.  Think about what you liked about the sessions you attended and provide thoughtful and constructive responses on the evaluation.  Or take some time after the day of Rebel U to reflect by writing a guest post on the GLPS Tech & Media blog.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

End of Year FAQ's

Each year we try to become more efficient in the way we collect district technology items. Our goal is to keep all staff members informed of what is happening to devices and how things are handled over the summer. Listed below are a few Frequently Asked Questions that we get each year.

What happens to my devices over the summer?
  • Staff-
    • Each staff device will be re-imaged and updated this summer. All data stored locally on the computer will be wiped. Please make sure all of your important files are uploaded to Google Drive or otherwise backed up.  We're streamlining how staff computers will receive updates and other software packages. Many of the systems on your computers require updates on a weekly basis. Each staff computer will be setup to receive these necessary updates automatically while connected to the districts network. 
  • Student-
    • Each student device will be re-imaged and updated every summer. 
Will I have the same student devices as last year?
  • No, devices are distributed by the building administrator. After all repairs are completed an inventory is sent to the building administrator so they are able to distribute the available devices accordingly. 
  • This does not apply to devices that were purchased with Grant, Title, or other special funding for a specific classroom or purpose. 
Will I be getting new technology next year?
  • New technology purchases are done at the building level. If your building administrator has planned to purchase new technology for your classroom we will do our best to get it setup for you to use in the fall. 
What if my devices are broken or missing? 
  • Anytime a device is broken (internal or physical) it should be reported to the Technology Department and building administrator. If you have devices that are not working or have been damaged please fill out a GLPS Support Ticket. It is important that we are able to get broken devices fixed while they are still under warranty. If their is a cost associated with the repair it will need to be handled at the building level.
  • Missing devices should also be reported to the Technology Department and your building administrator. 
What do I do with my other technology items such as Projector Remote, Apple TV Remote, Classroom Speakers?
  • These items belong to the classroom and should be left on top of the desk in your classroom. Many of our classrooms are used over the summer for various reasons and those items need to be accessible. Even if you are moving classrooms leave these items on the desk in your current classroom. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Getting Smart with Brain Breaks!

Recently, our Tech & Media Team heard some buzz from our Early Childhood Center (ECC) about brain breaks.  We were instantly intrigued because it seemed so fun!  Several of the teachers were using the website, GoNoodle, for giving their kiddos a learning break and letting them get their wiggles out and brains recharged.  Our team was invited in to see some first graders in action during one of their brain breaks, and the energy was contagious!  The kids (and teachers!) sure know how to move!

After watching the students, we had a chance to sit down with one of our ELL Specialists at the ECC to talk about how brain breaks are beneficial to all students, but especially ELLs.  She offered some great insight about the cognitive benefits of brain breaks.  Below is a video of our interview with her and her insight on brain breaks.  If you are unable to view the video below, please click here.

With all the excitement from the students about brain breaks, and especially the video Pop See Ko from GoNoodle, some of the 1st grade teachers had the idea to make a personalized ECC Pop See Ko video for their students.  They wanted to include teachers and the principal from ECC, but also the superintendent of the district.  This was such a fun video to collaborate on with many different people and we are proud of our staff for not only coming up with such a great idea, but actively taking part in the creation to make an awesome video for their students.  Below is the video our teachers and administrators Pop-See-Ko-ing!  If you are unable to view the video below, please click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

10 Minute Tech Tools - Educreations

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to capture your students' thinking?  Look no further -  Educreations for the iPad is here!  Come check my blog and how you can use Educreations on the latest 10 Minute Tech Tools!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Digital Learning Day 2015 at Godfrey-Lee #GlpsDLDay

This year, our superintendent requested that all teachers and students in the district were to engage in at least one digital learning activity on Digital Learning Day.  In preparation for this day, a few principals requested some time from our Tech Team to speak with their teachers.  So, in preparation, our team spent a day working with K-2 teachers at our Early Childhood Center helping them plan an activity for the day and providing hands-on assistance playing with new resources and collaborating with one another.  (The agenda for this planning time can be found here.)  Several members of our team also met with the middle school and high school teachers to share ideas and answer questions about the day during their staff meeting.  We wanted to make sure that all teachers were prepared for implementing a digital activity in their classroom and could ask us any questions as they arose.

Below are a few images we captured as we traveled through the buildings in the district on Digital Learning Day.  To view the full gallery of images, please click here.  We also encouraged teachers to share their experiences, photos, and other thoughts on social media with the hashtag #GlpsDLDay.  It was great to see all the great things going on!  To view a collection of our district's social media posts from the day, please click here.

After teachers completed their Digital Learning Day activity, we asked them to share their activity they implemented, examples of student projects, or any other notes they had about the day.  It was great seeing what everyone was doing and we enjoyed celebrating the digital learning that was taking place in our district!  Listed below are the responses we received to the teacher survey we sent out in regards to their Digital Learning Day experience.  If you are unable to view the responses below, please click here.

Monthly Tech Survey {March Results}

It is hard to believe that we are already starting to think about the end of the school year and summer plans and work that needs to be done!  As we make this final push to the end of the school year, our team is looking towards different ways to support our teachers as we do our summer planning and look forward to the following school year.  This month, we sent out a survey to our staff asking, "What is something (or somethings!) you do during the summer to prepare your classroom, curriculum, or other fun things for the beginning of the new school year?".  We hope to use this information gathered from this question to provide our teachers with relevant summer learning opportunities.

Listed below are the responses we received.  If you would like to view the responses in a larger sheet format, please click here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monthly Tech Survey {February Results}

Last month, we sent out a survey to our staff asking their thoughts and opinions on the Media Centers in their buildings.  We appreciate everyone's honesty and time in providing feedback about the Media Centers.  We strive to have open-ended communication with everyone and are always welcome to receiving feedback!

Below are some charts that provide district-wide responses to the given questions.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

10 Minute Tech Tools - Plickers

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to assess your students?  Look no further -  Plickers is here!  Come check my blog and how you can use Plickers on the latest 10 Minute Tech Tools!

10 Minute Tech Tools - Padlet

Have you head of Padlet before?  Did you know you can create custom backgrounds for your walls to help direct instruction?  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Apple Security Updates

If you are an Apple user, please take a moment to update your Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc..) devices as several security vulnerabilities have recently been discovered and patched.  For more information about these vulnerabilities, please visit the US-CERT release.

iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPods) instructions: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204204

If you need help with updating your devices, please submit a HelpDesk request and a wonderful IT Tech would love to help you out!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

10 Minute Tech Tools - Fun Ideas for 100 Day

Are you looking for some fun ways to integrate technology into your 100th Day of School celebration?  Come check out some of my fun interactive ideas on my blog for the latest 10 Minute Tech Tools!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Digital Learning Day is Coming!

March 13, 2015

As stated in Superintendent Britten's email to staff, it is his expectation that all of our teachers and students are to engage in at least one digital learning activity that day.  What does this mean for you as a GLPS teacher? 

  • All teachers and students are to engage in at least one digital learning activity that day.  
  • This could be a lesson that is fully integrated with different technology resources, or it could be a short 20-minute lesson that the students are engaged in with technology to support their learning.
  • The purpose of integrating technology should be to support, supplement, or extend student learning.  Do not use technology simply for the sake of using technology! 

So, How Can You Get Ready for Digital Learning Day in Your Classroom?
Everyone is at different comfort levels with using technology, so it may take some advance planning might be necessary if you are not utilizing it everyday in your classroom.
  • Think about ways that technology will support your teaching and student learning.
  • Not sure what to do? Do a Google search for "Digital Learning Day" and check out what others are doing.
  • Check out the Digital Learning Day website for more information about the day.
  • Talk with your team members, other teachers in your building, or others in your PLN to crowdsource some new ideas.
  • Revist ideas from Rebel U.
  • Using Kagan and/or SIOP in your classroom? The 2014 12 Days of EdTech Cheer was all about using technology to support those programs. Check it out for some new ideas!
  • Still not sure? Contact your friendly neighborhood Technology and Media Integration Specialist (Sarah Wood) and she would be happy to help you plan an activity for the day.
Once you have your lesson planned, go ahead and do it! If you are doing something new that you haven't tried or experimented with much before, it might be helpful to give it a trial run in your classroom. This will help alleviate any stress on the actual day.

In addition to implementing a lesson, Superintendent Britten is also asking you to document the digital learning and instruction that is taking place in your classrooms.

  • Take pictures, videos, capture screen shots and screencasts, or anything else that sums up the digital learning that took place in your classroom.
  • Share it on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) with the hashtag #GlpsDLDay.  Make sure you know and check student permissions before posting!
  • Want to follow what everyone in our district is doing on social media? Check out this link for the full (public) social media posts with the hashtag #GlpsDLDay https://tagboard.com/GlpsDlDay/search. (Note: Only public posts will show up here - if your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts are private, they will not show up in this feed)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monthly Tech Survey {January Results}

Last month, we sent out a survey to our staff asking their thoughts and opinions on Rebel U as well as the upcoming Digital Learning Day.  We had a wide range of responses, and we were happy to hear what everyone had to share!

Based on the survey results regarding Digital Learning Day, one thing we would like to clarify is that the Technology and Media Team will not be presenting any professional development on this day.  Digital Learning Day is designed as a day for educators to use technology in their instruction and student learning.  If you would like more information about this day, please click here.

If you are unable to view any of the responses below, a link to spreadsheet of responses can be found here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2014 #EdTechCheer Wrap Up

Come visit me over at my blog to check out a series of posts on the 2014 12 Days of EdTech Cheer!

  1. 2014 EdTech Cheer Wrap Up
  2. 2014 EdTech Cheer - Yearly Analysis
Want a sneak peak at some of the charts you can see in the Yearly Analysis post?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mac Tips: [ctrl+alt+delete] on a Mac

Do you struggle with knowing how many applications are currently open on your Mac? Do you find that sometimes an application will freeze or is unresponsive? On a Windows computer most of us are familiar with the command [ctrl+alt+delete].  This command allows us to see which applications are not responding and close out of them.  On a Mac computer that process is called "force quit". To bring up the "force quit" menu, press [command+option+esc] then select the unresponsive application from the force quit window that appears, and click force quit.

The Apple Support article here goes into a little bit more detail about force quit if you are interested in making Mac experience more efficient.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monthly Tech Survey {December Results}

Last month, we sent out a survey to our staff asking their opinions on professional development.  We intentionally left this a bit vague and did not focus on specifically "technology professional development," but rather professional development in general.  We received 20 responses and had so many insightful comments about professional development/learning that will definitely help us with future planning!

Listed below are the extended responses we received to our open-ended survey questions.

Another question we asked if the respondents had checked out the 2014 12 Days of EdTech Cheer (an online, self-paced professional learning opportunity).  This question was posed as the 2014 12 Days of EdTech Cheer was currently underway and it was the GLPS Tech Team's mid-year professional development that was open to everyone.  We like to carry the spirit of Rebel U throughout the school year and support teacher instruction and student learning in anyway that we can.  Of the 20 respondents, more than half of them had check out EdTech Cheer (and some were actively participating), which is great news!

So what does this mean?  Well, based on the given responses, we feel as though we are meeting some of the professional development/learning needs of teachers through Rebel U and EdTech Cheer.  Our PD is not just limited to those two events though and we are always open to hearing ideas from teachers and administrators how we can provide appropriate and relevant services to help increase student achievement.  We strive to empower our teachers to feel comfortable with the provided technology resources and want them to feel confident to use those resources with their students.  

As a way of helping our teachers keep track of their professional participation, we are also issuing digital learning badges.  To learn more about how we are using these, please click here.

We always ask for input from our teachers about how we can improve upon our PD to fulfill their needs.  Which leads us to our January Monthly Tech Survey!  We want to know your thoughts about Rebel U 2015 and the upcoming Digital Learning Day.  If you are a GLPS staff member, please check your email for this months' survey!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

GLPS Professional Learning {Digital Learning Badges}

Last year our GLPS Tech & Media Team started issuing digital learning badges for participation in professional development involvement.  We used Credly as our service for issuing (free!) digital learning badges.  It was great to share accomplishments with teachers and is a different way for our teachers to display their professional involvement.

So What Does This Mean to You?

Well, this year the TLA Department and the Tech & Media Team are working together to issue digital badges for professional learning participation.  You can look forward to receiving some digital badges in your inbox soon for your participation in professional learning that was provided by the TLA Department or the Tech & Media Team.

I Received a Badge, Now What?

Credly is a service that allows you to reward people with "credits" for participation.  It is a free service and users do not necessarily need to have a Credly account to receive a badge.  Once a badge has been issued to a person, an email is automatically sent to the individual notifying them of their badge, as well as a picture of the badge.  If a user signs up for a Credly account, they then have the options to organize their badges and even embed a collection of badges on a website.

If you are a teacher that has received a digital learning badge - now what are your next steps?
  1. You will receive an email from GLPS Tech & Media notifying you of your badge.  If you choose to do nothing with your badges, you are done at this point.  We recommend saving the email though in case you would like to reference it in the future.
  2. If you would like to keep track of your badges, we recommend creating an account with Credly (the service we are using for issuing digital badges - it is free to create an account).
  3. Once you have created an account, it is helpful if you create a "Category."  This will help you organize your badges and allow you to embed them on your website if you choose to do so.
  4. To create a Category, under the Earned section on the My Credit page, click on Categories.  Click on the +Add Category button.
  5. Select your badges and place them in a category you created.  Once you create your category and place badges in that category, you will see a button that looks like "< / >" that will provide you with some HTML code.
  6. If you would like to show off your badges on your website, simply copy this code and paste it onto your website.
  7. After this initial set-up, when you receive a new badge, simply accept the badge from the email (or log in to Credly) and select a category for it to be placed in, and your website will then automatically be updated with your new badge!  If you would like to see an example of how they would be displayed on your website, take a look at Sarah Wood's website to see.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Minute Tech Tools - Epic! Books for Kids

Are you looking for a way to access free books from your iPad(s)?  Look no further!  Epic! books has thousands of interactive books that are available free to educators.

To read more about this "10 Minute Tech Tool," check out my blog post here!


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