Facebook Twitter E-mail RSS
formats

USD 207 Teachers Share ChromeBooks Pilot Experience at KC TechNet Conference

Published on March 20, 2014 in TEAMS


District educators presented to fellow teachers at the 2014 KC TechNet Conference on February 28th, held in Kansas City, Missouri. TechNet, the Kansas City Metropolitan Educational Technology Network is affiliate of ISTE.

Innovating and Collaborating with Digital Tools: ChromeBooks in the Classroom

Liddell Hobin, Director of Technology Services

Josh Barnes, 5th grade teacher

Celene Pallesen, 7th grade English Language Arts teacher

 

The USD 207 team began piloting two ChromeBooks projects in the fall of 2013 to use digital tools to foster student collaboration and innovation. The three educators shared how their students use Google Drive and Chromebooks in the classroom.

Josh Barnes presenting at KC TechNet 2014

Barnes and Pallesen demonstrated how students use Google Drive to collaborate with each other and work with teachers.

Google Drive includes online word processing, spreadsheet and other multimedia applications, stored “in the cloud.”

Students can create a document, title it, and immediately share with the teacher and fellow students. Students can easily integrate with drawings, spreadsheets, and other media. Multiple students can collaborate in guided collaborative discussion via Google drive.

Pallesen spoke specifically about how she is using Google Drive and Chromebooks to help students meet the new Kansas Common Core Standards.

She shared one Common Core standard with examples of how her students had demonstrated the skill with presentations and discussions in Google Drive.

R.L.7.9 Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.  

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Digital Learning February

Dozens of USD 207 students were asked to go to the principal’s office during the month of February and turn in their pencils.  Were they in trouble for some infraction? No, they were participating in Digital Learning Day.

Sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day is a national event that encourages educators to explore electronic learning opportunities with students. In the words of the organizers, “Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and a career.”

The official day of national recognition was February 5th, 2014, but USD 207 celebrated Digital Learning Day throughout the month of February. Liddell Hobin, Director of Technology Services, explained, “With several snow days due to the wintry weather, and our desire to share devices like laptops and iPads for each student across all grade levels in 4 schools, we had activities on multiple days throughout the month.”

The Pledge

USD 207 teachers took a pledge to “support the use of technology to truly improve education.”

Teachers used their particular Digital Learning Day in the classroom to try new lesson ideas that they had developed with Hobin and her team, with an emphasis on digital tools and student-led learning. The teachers avoided the use of worksheets, printouts, and pencils (but not paper books) for the day, in an effort to identify how to digitize lessons and engage students in new learning modes.

Participating students took the pledge to use no paper and no pencils for one day, symbolically “turning in” their pencils to the office in the morning. Students had the chance to immerse themselves in a robust digital learning environment. In addition, they received age appropriate training on good digital citizenship skills.

Hobin points out, “This exercise was about getting teachers and students out of their comfort zone for a day to try new things – it was not about paper and pencil being inherently bad or anything like that. What we found was that the teachers were pleasantly surprised by how liberating the experience was – not a limiting experience at all, as some might have expected.”

“We are already able to use iPad and chromebook carts to share devices, and we look at Digital Learning Day as an opportunity to identify how to make a truly 1:1 student to device ratio in the classroom work effectively for us. We had to spread out the days and rotate and share devices to make this happen, and with some good planning, it all came together nicely.”

“We really challenged the teachers. Every classroom went 1:1 with devices. I think this was an important experience to have. And I received feedback from teachers at end of day that was positive. One grade level team emailed asking if they could try this once a week going forward. They felt that if they had just a few more devices, they could do this all the time. So now we will try to help accommodate!”

At the end of the day, the students retrieved their pencils from the principal’s office and returned to the classroom with a new perspective.

Gretchen Martens, Art teacher

“We did our digital day on Friday. It was a great success! The students loved it!​ Thank you for helping make this happen. It was fun for this ” experienced” teacher to try new things.”

Julia McCubbin,  4th grade teacher

“This is so fun, and so easy! If I can do this, anyone can do it! And, the kids love it!”

Becky Wenzel Pre-K Teacher

“Whoohooooooo…Thank you, thank you, thank you. We fully participated in the Digital Learning Day.”

Elizabeth Hauerwas 5th grade teacher

​”My students and I loved Digital Learning Day!”

 

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Eisenhower Students’ “Heroes at Home” Video Wins Award

A video produced by Eisenhower Elementary School students has been selected as a winner in the 2013 EducationPlus Show-Me a Movie Awards.

“Heroes at Home: Our School Community” focuses on the challenges that many USD 207 students face with having parents deployed abroad for long periods of time due to their military service. With personal interviews, family photos, and footage of children reuniting with parents, the short video tells the emotional story of this aspect of life through the eyes of a military child.

The contest sponsor, EducationPlus, a non-profit educational service agency based in Saint Louis, Missouri, selected “Heroes at Home” as the winning entrant in the Show-Me Your Community elementary school category for digital storytelling. As the “Show-Me” nickname suggests, entrants usually come from the state of Missouri, especially the St. Louis area. This award marks the first time in contest history that an out-of-state school has placed first in any category.

 

Over 150 entries were submitted, across all categories, in the 2013 Show-Me a Movie Awards. Award winner names were announced on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. The winning movies were showcased on the EducationPlus SchoolTube channel and were honored at a reception at the 31st annual Midwest Education Technology Conference, February 10-12, 2014 in Saint Louis.

 

“My dad’s been deployed five times”

“I felt sad because I thought he was going to get hurt”

“Well, it’s kind of bittersweet because I know that he’s gone for a good cause, but it’s still kind of sad because he’s gone.”

 

Eisenhower Elementary School Counselor, Debbie Sack, and Instructional Technology Coordinator, Matt Dixon, worked with Eisenhower students during 2013 to develop the video.

After receiving the news that their video had won, Sack and Dixon participated in an interview.

 

How did this project get started?

Sack: Liddell Hobin, our Director of Technology, approached Matt Dixon about the possibility of the Ike Informers participating in this technology contest. Then Matt and I asked the Ike Informers, our student news team if they would like to be involved. All of them were extremely excited about the project. Two of the Ike Informers, Kate Bircher and Sophia Troutman, decided that deployed family members was the topic they wanted to focus on in the project. The team was presented with the idea and wholeheartedly agreed. They asked me if I would choose some students I work with in our Hearts Apart group to be interviewed. I set up the interviews and Mr. Dixon worked with the Ike Informers about the technical aspects of the project. I was very proud of the work the kids did, and how they followed through on each component of each task. I am also impressed with all that Mr. Dixon taught the Ike Informers about technology in order to make the project a success!

What was it like working with the children on the topic of deployment?

Sack: It was an emotional experience. I work closely with the children in my school who have deployed parents, so much of what was said I am familiar with. However, it brought to light, to me personally, how important it is for teachers to be cognizant of what these kids and their families go through during times of deployment. I observed a great deal of sadness, and at the same time, pride that their parent was doing such an important job for America.

How did the students react when they found out they had won?

Dixon: Well, The kids were very excited when they found out we had won. Getting recognized for their work has motivated them even more. We’re very proud of them!

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

5th Graders Code For Fun and the Future

CSEdWeek_logo_square_red_RGB_0

Students in Nicki Lindner’s 5th grade class at Bradley Elementary School dove into computer programming in December, participating in the national “Hour of Code.”

 The Hour of Code is an initiative led by code.org, the non-profit dedicated to promoting computer science education, to introduce computer programming to millions of US students.

 In collaboration with partners like Khan Academy, the nationwide campaign called on every K-12 student to try an hour of software coding during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013.

 Lindner’s students explored the basics of programming language and how to apply them to creations of their own using their imagination. The fifth graders in Lindner’s class embraced the project, working throughout the week on personally meaningful projects that included greeting cards on Khan Academy, games from code.org which the students were linked to on the district’s Moodle site (Learning Management System), and more.

 Liddell Hobin, USD 207 Technology Services Director, said, “The data show that computer programming careers will continue to grow in the US and worldwide, but there’s a potential shortfall of qualified students, if we don’t course correct. Hour of Code fits perfectly into the long-term development of our students and our CYBER-TEAMS initiative here at USD 207.”

After the Hour of Code program in December, Lindner took a few minutes to share her thoughts.

 

How did your students react to the Hour of Code project?

 Before the project, the majority of my students were unsure of what it actually meant to code. I do have a couple of boys in my class who would ultimately like to pursue a career in computer programming and they were very excited for the project from the start. We began with Khan Academy’s computer programming lessons and activities and many of the students dove right in. There were a couple holdouts who weren’t quite convinced. However, after they were introduced to the variety of code systems and activities offered through code.org, everyone was soon having a great time.

 

Were there any surprising moments for you?

 I think the big a-ha moment was the ease with which all of the students were able to create different things. Since completing the National Hour of Code in December, I have already had four new students join my classroom and twice now they have participated in our weekly coding. The new kids have adjusted right in as if they have been working with code all along!

 I was also surprised that everyone found something that they enjoyed creating, be it a holiday card, a moving car, manipulating characters with commands, or the building blocks for an iPad or smartphone game.

 

Were there any a-ha moments for the students?

 I think the biggest a-ha moments for the students were when they realized that coding isn’t as hard or scary as they thought it was going to be. Many of the students were very excited to share their greeting cards created through Khan Academy. Each time they created something it was a big deal and each student couldn’t wait to share his or her creation with someone…anyone who would listen.

 

Do you have any plans to do more code projects as a class?

Yes, we continue to code every week. Next, I would like to take it a step further and assign a specific task for small groups that would require being creative using computer programming. However, I have not planned that far ahead quite yet.

 

Are students coding on their own after the official “hour of code” ended?

Yes, I have a few students that enjoy coding as something they can work on when they finish their class work. Following the National Hour of Code, we as a class decided to commit between 20-60 minutes a week working with code on both Khan Academy and code.org. Code.org has a large variety of activities and formats (i.e. computer and iPad) that as a class we find challenging. Overall I believe that the National Hour of Code was a huge success and continues to provide a challenge and positive outlet for my students.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

2012-2013 CYBER-TEAMS Report Shows Gains in Student Technology Use, Critical Thinking Skills

cyberteams-QR

The USD 207 CYBER-TEAMS project is funded through a competitive grant program awarded by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The project began in FY 2011 and has completed its second year of implementation in school year 2012-2013.

As CYBER-TEAMS enters into its third and final year of supporting technology access and STEM + Art (TEAMS) integration across the district, much has been learned from the previous years of implementation.

 

Download the full report

Highlights from 2012-2013

  • Students identified an increase in 21st Century Skills being used in the classroom, with collaboration and innovation being the most utilized.
  • Students are interested in all areas of TEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Science), but continue to be most interested in Technology at this point.
  • Student technology use in the classroom has increased since last year.
  • The use of “Mountaintop Learning Spaces” for student presentations increased by 2.9% during 2012-13
  • Students were observed analyzing or evaluating information 7.6% of the class time, an increase of 5.6% over 2011-12.
  • Faculty presented at 12 external educational conferences.
  • Over 300 hours of professional development workshops were completed on campus at USD 207 in the 2012-2013 school year.
  • 50+ teachers have now completed Tech Leaders Academy – at least one per grade level/subject area in each of four schools.
 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Physical Education Department facilitates increased academic and behavioral success through Super Brain Workout Videos!

Shelly Swartz, Physical Education teacher at MacArthur Elementary School identified a need to provide immediate interventions for students with unique academic and behavioral challenges.  Her vision was to have students participate in physical activities that would facilitate neurological brain development.  The idea was that through participation in specific physical activities, the students would become more successful in reaching their academic and behavioral goals.

This was the beginning of the SIA (Sensory Integration Activities) Lab.  The SIA lab is a before-school program where students participate in multi-sensory, cross-lateral, aerobic exercises that require motor planning and visual tracking.  Students participating in the SIA Lab begin their day facilitating neurological brain development through movement.

Soon after the SIA lab began, teachers and parents began to notice remarkable academic and behavioral improvements. Soon a grass roots type movement began. The reading specialist, speech therapist, learning resource specialists as well as some classroom teachers began asking for the workout to utilize throughout the day.

With the success students experienced through participation in the SIA Lab, the district administration saw the value of utilizing the concept district wide at the elementary level.  When Swartz was approached with the concept of taking this program to the district level, it just made sense to utilize the district’s technology for successful daily implementation.

Thus the Super Brain Workout Videos were developed.  In May of 2013 Swartz worked with technology specialists Tyler Fowler and Matt Dixon to produce two workout videos for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.  In August of 2013, Swartz along with her colleagues Pat Amon from Bradley Elementary and Karen Miller from Eisenhower Elementary rolled out the super brain videos district wide as an academic intervention. The physical education department continues to develop more videos and educate parents as the program evolves.

Now all teachers across the district have access to the Super Brain workouts, whenever needed.

“This puts the power of the program in the hands of every teacher. They use it as an educational intervention at the start of each day.  In addition many of our educational team members use them at the beginning of flex time, before taking assessments, as well as other times throughout the day to enhance learning. Thanks to the technology provided to our district, it’s there on-demand whenever the educational team members need it. All three elementary schools are using the Super Brain workouts as an intervention to improve learning outcomes daily. This is really a district-wide intervention.”

One of the most exciting aspects of using technology to implement these workouts is the availability for parents to utilize the workouts at home.  Parents are using these workouts to help their children complete homework more efficiently.   “It really empowers parents to become an integral part of our educational team.”

 

 

 

 

 

Swartz explains the 3 pillars of Super Brain Workouts:

1.  Aerobic Exercise:  Research shows that aerobic exercise influences learning directly at the cellular level by increasing the brain’s ability to log and process information.  This occurs because aerobic exercise increases the level of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the Hippocampus which is one of the primary proteins that facilitates learning.  Exercise also increases the production of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. These neurotransmitters act as regulators, balancing our systems to better attend and retain information.

2.  Sensory Integration:  Swartz says that all external stimuli enter into the prefrontal cortex and is received and integrated through our sensory neurons.  When our neurological response to sensory input is effective our brains begin to process in a well-organized, integrated manner allowing the students to better focus, behave appropriately and learn effectively.

Sensory integration activities promote communication between sensory neurons located in the prefrontal cortex, the left and right hemisphere and the motor cortex. With repetition, these neurons will build stronger connections and begin to communicate more efficiently which allows the prefrontal cortex to integrate sensory input more efficiently.

3. Cross Lateral Movement:  There are a number of reasons that one side of the brain processes at a faster rate of speed than the other.  Many times genes simply stay dormant and because they aren’t active, the neurons don’t express themselves.  When the differences between both hemispheres become too great, the communication breaks down and the weaker side gets tuned out.

Cross-lateral movement activities force both hemispheres to work together at the same time and connect neurons so they can communicate efficiently.  This allows students the ability to process information more efficiently, as well as improving visual tracking which leads to enhanced learning.

Success stories keep Swartz and her colleagues moving forward.  “I’ve seen the benefits that stems from consistent participation in this program which motivates me to help as many people as I can understand the body brain connection.”

Swartz is eager to continue collecting data on the effects of the program. In addition, plans are in the works to do a study to examine the benefits of the Super Brain workout when utilized throughout the day.

For now, kids at USD 207 continue to enjoy their daily workouts with the knowledge that they are developing a lot more than their muscles!

 

 

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

USD 207 Educators Selected to Present Two Poster Sessions at ISTE 2014

ISTE2014

 

Teachers and staff from USD 207 have been selected to present two sessions at the International Society for Technology in Education 2014 Conference, held in Atlanta this summer. The annual ISTE conference brings together over 18,000 educators from around the world to explore the topics of technology and education.

The sessions are:

Take Charge! The Energy Challenge
Sunday, June 29, 11:00am – 1:00 pm

Visit with classroom teachers about student-centered, engaging lessons and activities from a district-wide STEM energy challenge focusing on the “big idea” of energy.

Gaining STEAM with TEAMS: Innovation through Collaboration
Monday, June 30, 10:30am – 12:30 pm

Explore classroom projects integrating Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Science. Discover how the CYBER-TEAMS Project has transformed learning environments and curriculum in this district-wide implementation.

USD 207 has had a consistent and growing presence at ISTE. 2014 represents the third consecutive year that the district will be presenting at the conference.

“We’re pleased to be selected to share our ideas from USD 207 at ISTE,” said Liddell Hobin, Director of Technology Services. “It’s a wonderful forum for teachers from around the world to come together and explore.”

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Patton Energy Challenge Kicks Off

Patton Sustainable Energy Challenge
 
Keith Mispagel, USD 207 Superintendent, has challenged Patton Junior High School students and staff to develop solutions to help meet the school’s future energy needs in a sustainable manner. Students will meet in groups weekly through March, when the project will culminate in presentations to a panel of judges from USD 207. Winning groups will be recognized and asked to present to the three district elementary schools as part of Earth Day celebrations in April.

On Friday, November 22nd, students reported to their groups for the first time to begin work on the challenge. Groups can be composed of students from various grades, allowing for cross-grade level collaboration.

Each student team will be asked to present the results of their work with three modes: a live presentation, a three dimensional model, and a third example of their choice, such as an exhibit, persuasive essay, marketing commercial, user manual, and so forth.

The energy project is consistent with USD 207’s commitment to CYBER-TEAMS and the Common Core initiative. Students will be expected to take the lead of their teams and projects, rather than simply follow a teacher-lead curriculum. Teachers will act as guides, helping facilitate the group learning in a way that meets standards.

Students will be asked to make connections with TEAMS (Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Science) concepts as they plan, research, develop, refine, and share their ideas with others.
 

“I like how we were free to discuss and move along at our own pace, without being influenced by the other groups. Deciding what to do was pretty easy. In the first hour we had already decided what our model was going to look like.”

“I liked how we came together with other grades to do this project.”

“It was a cool experience and it opened us up to new leadership roles. It took a long time to draw things together.”

 
Student Leadership

Patton students expressed their excitement about the freedom and responsibility they’re being given for the Energy Project.

“I like how we were free to discuss and move along at our own pace, without being influenced by the other groups. Deciding what to do was pretty easy. In the first hour we had already decided what our model was going to look like.”

“I liked how we came together with other grades to do this project.”

“It was a cool experience and it opened us up to new leadership roles. It took a long time to draw things together.”

 

Next Steps

Keith Mispagel, Superintendent of Schools, said, “The premise of this challenge is two-fold. First, I would like students to utilize a variety of resources, including their imaginations, to pursue solutions to decreasing energy consumption, sustaining energy conservation, and creating new ways for energy efficiency. Second, this challenge is designed to be student driven and staff guided. The students are the researchers, builders, creators, and “drivers” in this challenge. With this in mind, student initiative and engagement should be at the forefront.”

December 6th will be the last day before winter break for students to work on the project. In January and February, Students will continue to meet all day as Energy Project groups from 7:45 – 1:00 p.m. on Early Release Fridays.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Dewey Decimal Digitized: 7th Graders Collaborate for Public Presentations

How do you make the Dewey Decimal system exciting to young “digital native” students? The library classification system dates back to 1876, yet remains relevant today as a way for organizing books and ideas.

Patton Junior High School English Language Arts (ELA)  teachers Penny Paradies and Celene Pallesen collaborated with school librarian, Kelly Funk, to take students on a journey that not only taught the Dewey Decimal system, but teamwork, project management, and public speaking skills as well.

 Paradies explains, “We were looking for a way to engage students that would do more than teach the basic numbering of the system. Working with Kelly, we came up with the idea of a group project that would have a teamwork and technology component, and also satisfy several important Common Core standards.”

 During the first two weeks in October, the two ELA teachers combined their 7th grade classes and organized the students into teams of about 3-4 students each. Students were given the task of learning about a certain section of the Dewey decimal system and then teaching back what they had learned via a slide deck and live oral presentation to their peers.

 
 

 
 

Student-Led Project

“We let the kids use iPads in the library then turned them loose!” laughs Paradies. “We gave them some guidance, but it was fairly open.”

Students spent one class period in the library, roaming the shelves. Some groups took pictures of the book covers and others took pictures of the insides of the books or certain pages.

“It was really interesting to see how the different groups chose to interpret and approach the assignment in various ways,” says Paradies.

Students uploaded photos from their iPads to Google Drive, then began creating a group presentation using the Google Presentation application.  “After the library day, they had four in-class collaboration days for face-to-face time,” says Paradies. “And some of the groups chose to work online from home at the same time. The beneficial part of the software is that multiple people could edit the presentation document simultaneously. This was a great lesson in communication, respect, and efficiency. There was a lot of collaboration and some great conversations.”

Paradies appreciated the fact that she could let the students run their groups independently, while at the same time, she could step in and monitor–wherever and whenever–the students were working. “As the teacher, I could pop into the document and add comments, ask questions, and see how they were doing. Being able to view the revision history is handy, too, because it gave me a sense of how the students were or weren’t interacting as a team.”

The two ELA teachers observed lots of teamwork. “While they were gathering photographs and planning their presentations, I found that if one kid had a technical question, another kid would jump in to help before I even got over to see,” says Paradies. “There was a lot of cooperation!”

 
 

 
 

Common Core Integration

 “This project felt successful on several fronts,” says Paradies. “There are public speaking and listening skills from the Common Core, plus the Dewey Decimal system and the technology aspect. Covering the decimal system may not seem very exciting at first glance. However, all the kids eventually found a number of books that they might not normally have stopped to see in the library.”

There was an ulterior motive to all this, admits Paradies. “This was our October kick-off activity for the second quarter. After this, the seventh graders will be doing non-fiction book reports. Being exposed to the wide spectrum of non-fiction books because of this project, the kids realize that there is more to non-fiction than just biographies and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not-type books! It teaches them how the library is organized, which is still relevant today. And we kept them thinking about that afterwards, asking each student to note down one fact they learned about the Dewey Decimal section they studied and an additional fact from another group’s section.”

The project had a mix of high-tech and low-tech. Taking photographs of paper books with iPads. Giving a traditional “front of the room” oral presentation using a slide deck developed “in the cloud.”

 

Collaborating

The culmination of the project was presentation day. “We have an ‘everybody speaks’ rule,” says Paradies. There are some shy kids in the class, but we had participation from everyone. Each student had a slide or two they were ultimately responsible for and had to share with the rest of the room. We really saw some people open up. They had to think about what they wanted to say and how best to communicate it.”

Every student in a group shared the same grade that the their teacher assessed. “This was a team effort, in every sense of the word,” says Paradies. “Then, afterwards, I informally asked each student to realistically assess themselves. Seventh graders are blatantly honest, I’ve found. And they were clear if other kids had or hadn’t done the work. I think this post-project reflection made the kids more aware of what they do or don’t do to carry their weight.”

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Reading Specialist Zooms Ahead with Google Drive

Published on October 25, 2013 in TEAMS

Janet Robertson, Eisenhower Elementary School’s Reading Specialist, has recently begun using Google Drive’s collaborative document sharing technology to spend more time helping students and less time with paperwork.

The veteran educator and University of New Mexico graduate helps Eisenhower Elementary K-6 graders improve their reading through customized learning programs and one-to-one sessions each week. Robertson has a love of reading and a passion for helping young students to increase their confidence.

 

“…This new approach has freed up hours and hours each week that I can use to help the students, which is what I love most about my job.”

 

Janet-Robertson

Janet Robertson, USD 207 Reading Specialist

 

The Google Drive idea arose this fall, explains Robertson. “For a while, we’ve been tasked with taking data from our assessments and getting it to the classroom teachers so they could track student progress and partner with us.”

“In the past, there several steps required to make this happen. We were creating documents, saving it on the network “S Drive,” sending a copy to the teacher via email, and then they had to open up the files and go through them all individually. It was time-consuming and less than efficient for everyone. When you have 40 to 50 kids it really eats time that could be better spent helping kids.”

At the start of the 2013-14 school year, Robertson heard about Google Drive from Learning Technology Integration Specialist Kara Gentry at a USD207 CYBER-TEAMS professional development event. “When I heard about the possibilities of the technology, I said, ‘let’s create a program!’ and I got hold of Kara and asked her how we could do this,” says Robertson.

“Kara was so helpful,” says Robertson. “She helped me create a tracking sheet template and showed me how to share it with my readers’ grade level teachers. Kara was patient. She is a techie but she also ‘speaks teacher’ and made it really easy for me to learn. Now, instead of 10-15 minutes per student I can get all of my information entered in just two or three minutes. And the classroom teachers can easily access the information and see trends, too.”

The technology has not only made her more efficient, it has also helped Robertson to customize her teaching even more so. “This has cut our time requirement for administrative duties down by a factor of five or six times. The classroom teachers like having the data faster, and I can spend more time on my lesson and prep.”

“One thing you quickly realize as a reading teacher is that the kids come in with different needs–every reader has unique circumstances and you need prep time to customize and tailor your approach to meet the needs of that reader. This new approach has freed up hours and hours each week that I can use to help the students, which is what I love most about my job.”

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments