Around the World in 30 Minutes

This spring, many PSD middle and high school students were afforded an innovative experience through Google Pioneer Expeditions. The immersive virtual realiIMG_0280ty (VR) technology creates a memorable experience to connect kids to their learning.

At Poudre High School, Jen Musci’s English students experienced the world of Syrian Refugee children. These students, having no first-hand experience with civil war, were shocked by what they saw. Students discussed the living conditions, education, even the facial expressions of the people they saw. Afterward, they completed an essay on the crisis in Syria, using their VR experience as a source of information.

IMG_0339At Boltz Middle School, science teachers Ashley Rakiecki and Kathleen Scandary used Google Pioneer Expeditions to observe animal adaptations in the rain forests of Borneo. There were lots of “ooohs” and “aaahhhs” when students spotted a python lurking in the leaves. Students were tasked with finding other creatures hiding in the landscape, camouflaged by their adaptations.

Many experts predict that virtual reality is on it’s way to becoming a prominent feature in many modern classrooms. With the ability to be fully immersed in the content, students are better able to understand and retain what they are learningIMG_0384. VR creates a deeper, more meaningful lesson than an article or a video can provide; the students feel like they are there. Teachers have limitless ability to bolster their curriculum with these enriching VR experiences.

French students at Rocky Mountain High School toured the Palace of Versaille without ever leaving their seats. “Imagine how much money it cost to build this place,” one student exclaimed, peering up at a crystal chandelier through the Google Cardboard viewer. For many students, this is a learning experience that could not have happened without this revolutionary VR technology.
While Google Pioneer Expeditions wraps up the nationwide tour of their product, here in PSD, the EdTech team has begun gathering other VR tools. PSD TV has collaborated with EdTech to create 360video using GoPro cameras (look for them on YouTube soon!) iPods and POWIS viewers are available for checkout to teachers to use with students. Contact EdTech to learn more about the possibilities!

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Renewable Energy Data

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#edtech #edreform #renewableenergy

Students in elementary and middle school science classes across Poudre School District have been using Vernier Software & Technology probes and sensors. These sensors enable teachers and students to collect authentic data on computers for deep and detailed analysis. The data collected is accurate and better demonstrates to students how scientists perform and analyze similar experiments in the real world.

Students at Dunn, Bennett, and McGraw elementary schools are using GPS units to find weather investigation stations in the wilderness.  Students are collecting data and making conclusions based on that data. Rather than doing a lab that mimics being outside, studying weather, students are actually going out and collecting the data themselves.
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Middle School students at Lesher and Cache la Poudre have been investigating the factors that affect wind and solar power generation. The data they collected ranges from how the blade angle on a wind turbine can affect the energy output, to how the distance from a light source changes effectiveness of a solar panel. Teachers are making instructions interactive and easy to follow using Pear Deck, which allows for more open-ended inquiry investigations and student-driven learning.

If you are interested in checking out science probes and getting help with their use in your classroom contact the Ed Tech team. Elementary teachers it is no too late to sign up in Avatar for the Elementary Vernier training on Nov 9 (4th grade) and 10 (3rd and 5th grade).  IMG_0201 - Copy

Participate in the Hour of Code

#CSEdWeek #edtech #edapps

As part of Computer Science Education Week, December 8-14, you and your students can participate in the “Hour of Code”.  The Hour of Code is a one hour introduction to computer science.  It’s designed to make coding feel more accessible to anyone, at any age level, and teach the basics. Learning how to code can be a valuable resource in today’s information economy.

Here are some resources to get you started in participating in an Hour of Code the week of December 8th.

Khan Academy – Great tutorials already built in a platform that is familiar to teachers and students.

Code.org – Much of the site is already set up to make it easy to participate in an Hour of Code.  There are additional tutorials built in to continue learning into the future.

Codecademy – Scroll down to the “30 minute Goals” at the bottom of the page for some quick tutorials to get your students started.

These are just a few resources to get you started.  Feel free to contact anyone on the PSD Instructional Technology team to get more information or help setting up your own “Hour of Code”!