Digital Innovation Pathways | Day 2 PD

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What is the Digital Innovation Pathways?

Digital Innovation Pathways, affectionately known as DIP is a 1-3 year program for educators from Poudre School District. Teachers are engaged in two days of professional development at the Information Technology Center. During this time teacher investigate ways to integrate technology into their classrooms. These two days of PD are high level, big-picture days. Participants can then choose from over 30, more focused PD classes with Educational Technology Facilitators. Check out the classes here, they are open to anyone in PSD. Participants also participate in a school-based study group where they curate digital portfolios and discuss EdTech related topics such as screen time, fringe technologies like virtual reality and tech tools that enhance student learning. Talk with your principal or an EdTech facilitator if you are interested in joining DIP next school year. Thanks to voters who support the EdTech department through mill levy funding.

Day 2 Activities

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Participants choose from 5 options based on frequently asked questions, emails and grumblings that we hear as teachers enhance lessons with technology. Check out the following resources from the sessions here.  The sessions cover social media, screen time, citing sources, basic troubleshooting and how to help students manage devices in a digital world. 

afternoon-challengesVirtual Reality

pam-in-vrIn the afternoon of DIP Day 2 PD teachers choose from 4 different challenges. One of the afternoon problem based learning challenges teachers can choose is a virtual reality/bridge building challenge. Virtual reality is ripe, fresh and fun; yet many teachers are unsure how to use this tech in their classrooms. This session (all materials available here) demonstrates how teachers can use VR to engage students and immerse students in environments we can’t typically or easily visit (think the lungs, Galapagos, Great Wall of China or NBC img_2179studios.)  After learning about bridge design in virtual reality, participants create a bridge out of spaghetti and we use a Vernier Structure and Materials
tester to break the bridge. Check out other science probes available in the district by checking the resources tab on science.psdschools.org.

Robotics Challenges

Participants can also choose to learn about Robotics. EdTech has Cubelets and Moss Robotics kits available for reservation. Participants in this challenge were tasked with rescuing an astronaut from Mars. Through problem solving and creative thinking teachers use robotics kits to save a lego astronaut. Participants also were tasked with creating a press release describing their rescue mission and equipment used. Check out all the resources to recreate this experience with your students here. Below is a video describing the process and challenge in more detail. 

Podcasting

padletPodcasting is more than recording your voice. Podcasting is about the writing process and demonstrating your creativity in order to effectively  engage your listeners. The podcasting session engaged participants in using Audacity, BandLab and WeVideo to create their podcasts. Particpants focused on the danger of telling a single story, a topic very relevant in our evolving media landscape. Examples can be found in padlet, click here to listen to some of the podcasts. Check out all the resources to recreate this experience with students here.

More Information

edtech-team-photo-1EdTech is available for support. Take some time to check out edtech.psdschools.org to see what tech you can reserve and how EdTech Facilitators can support you when trying new tech in your classroom.

Stop Motion Intensive @ Polaris

img_1695In late September, students from Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in grades 6-12 participate in week-long intensives. These intensives take students all over Colorado, the country and the city and involve various themes. One of the themes of the week was “Tinkering with Time” in which students wrote, filmed, and edited a stop motion movie similar to the Lego Movie or as some of us may remember, Gumby.

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What did the students do?

Students spent two days story boarding and designing their sets and setup for capturing images. Students spent Wednesday filming, some students taking almost 2000 pictures using iMotion or Hue HD webcams and Animation Studio.  Thursday was spent editing using district-provided subscriptions to WeVideo, Adobe Premier and iMotion. Most of the materials used were purchased from student fees, direct donations and mill-levy funded devices like iPads and WeVideo subscriptions from the Educational Technology department.

Students describe the experience…

Students culminated the week by watching their videos on the big screen at the Lyric Cinema in old town Fort Collins. Each student was asked to discuss what they learned, what they liked and what they would do differently in the future.

Colton: “proud of doing something different” (than a normal school day)

Damacio: “I enjoyed story boarding and preparing for the project most”

Miller: “if I could change one thing it would be to be more patient, subtle movements would have made a more fluid animation”

Joe Gawronski (Polaris principal) stated he “think(s) the best part is watching a sixth grader work with a sophomore.

Kevin Denton (Polaris science teacher) enjoyed “watching people push themselves. It was a really difficult, slow project and I am proud of everyone’s efforts.”

Where can I watch the final products?

Untitled drawing (22)Student videos were posted to a YouTube playlist that is available here.  Please feel free to leave comments for students.

Please contact an EdTech facilitator if you are interested in recreating this experience with your students.

EcoWeek & EdTech | Science Probes in the Field…

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Fifth grade students from across Poudre School District are using the tools of the professionals. EdTech has purchased kits to use when you attend EcoWeek.  EdTech has 4 kits (2 weather, 1 energy and 1 water) that can be used with students of all ages.

 

Each kit comes with customizable activities designed to reinforce the 5th grade science content standards.

 

 

 

Weather & Water kits address standards such as:

  • Analyze and interpret data identifying ways Earth’s surface is constantly changing through a variety of processes and forces such as plate tectonics, erosion, deposition, solar influences, climate, and human activity

Energy Kit will address standards such as:

  • Show that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which current can pass
  • Develop and communicate a scientific explanation addressing a question of local relevance about resources generated by the sun or Earth.

What we can do with students…

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The typical lesson flow is as follows

  1. Planning with EdTech to customize your activities
  2. EdTech will visit your site and set up a GPS/Science probe course in your schoolyard
  3. EdTech will travel to EcoWeek and set up the GPS and Science probe course
  4. EdTech can revisit data with students once back in your classroom, comparing the schoolyard and mountainous data sets.

How to reserve kits

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Follow these simple instructions to reserve using the PSD Curriculum/FOSS library system.

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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

Staircase Piano @ FCHS

Some music students at Fort Collins High School performed an original song in an original way earlier this month. Adam McBride, from the Ed Tech team, visited John Hermanson’s Beginning Music Theory classroom and helped them convert an entire staircase into a working piano. Using a Makey Makey circuit kit, a computer with some drum beats, and a strategy about who would play which part, the students used the staircase piano to play an original composition they had written for Mr. Hermanson’s IMG_0211class.

The students worked hard and collaborated throughout the composition process. They were able to apply some engineering skills to create an instrument they could all play at the same time. Congratulations to these students for creating a great piece of music, and sharing it with the world in a unique way!

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”!

Tech in the Classroom

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During the year, the PSD tech trainers have the pleasure of working with teachers and students in the classroom. We really enjoy spending time building and teaching engaging, tech-embedded lessons.  Here is a collection of  recent video podcasts, put together by some of the tech trainers, showing the great work they’ve done at some PSD schools.

Click the pictures to view individual videos.

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2nd grade students at Tavelli Elementary create their own Realebooks focusing on the relationship between animal adaptations and their habitat using the software program Realewriter.

 

The 6th grade Lincoln Scholars’ book club at Lincoln IB Middle School connect in a live video conference with Holly Goldberg Sloan who wrote “Counting by Sevens” using Skype and technology tools. 

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Students in Sarah Keller’s economics class at Fort Collins High School use Popplet to demonstrate their understanding of international marketing.

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As always, check our elementary, middle schools, and high schools podcast pages for other classroom ideas and updates.  You can also follow us on Twitter @TeachTechPSD and on Facebook /teachtechpsd

Where to Find Resources

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Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of all the technology resources PSD has to offer.  In this screencast, we show where some commonly used resources can be found on the Poudre School District website.

Getting to Know You(r Students!)

#web20 #techtips #edtech

The beginning of the school year can be an exciting and busy time! Here are some fun ways to use  web-based tech tools to get to know your students.

Use Google presentations to create a student “expo”:

In one of our previous blog posts, we discussed how to use Google presentations to create an “Amazing Race“.  You can do a similar activity with your students to start off the year.  Head to Google Drive and create a new presentation.  The Topic could be anything, for example, “what did you do last summer?”, “Where did you go?”, or even better “What are you excited about for the school year?” We do some teacher trainings here at PSD Tech and have created a similar presentation.  Check it out here.

techexpo   You can set the sharing permissions on the presentation by pressing the blue “Share” button in the upper right.  It’s often easier to share the presentation’s link (or shorten the URL) with students rather than entering each student’s email address.

Next, create instructions for the students on the first slide.  After that, it’s a snap!  Students create one or more slides in the presentation and they (or the teacher) can share it out with the class.  Students can embed text, pictures, links, and videos!

Of course, there are other tech tools available for you to use.  The folks over at Socrative also have a great blog.  Check out their post on playing “Guess Who?” using the Socrative web app.

Not sure about Socrative?  Check out our post on using “Laptops as Clickers

You could also create an editable class wiki using Google Sites (or BlackBoard) to do something similar to the above activities.

Have a great school year!