Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Google Classroom in Park Hill

Park Hill Google Apps for Education

 A few years ago, the Park Hill School District decided to integrate Google Apps for Education. This robust suite of digital collaboration tools is always evolving and changing to incorporate new tools and resources. In short, students are able to share documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more in a way that allows for real-time editing. This can be a real game changer as it allows students to collaborate across classrooms, buildings, states, and even nations. It easily breaks down the walls of the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom to extend learning beyond the confines of the physical school building and traditional learning hours.

To learn about Google Apps for Education, click here.

Google Classroom

Google Apps for Education has recently added a new feature called Google Classroom. Google Classroom was designed to help save time and keep teachers and students organized in Google Drive.
Google Classroom makes it EASY to:
  • Create & Manage Classes & Folders 
  • Create Folders for Individual Assignments
  • Automatically Make a Copy of a Google Document for each student
  • Quickly See Who Has Not Completed an Assignment
  • Provide Feedback on Student Work
Check out this awesome Google Classroom video, and contact an ITF for support!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Five Tips from the ITF Team to Start Your School Year

1. Relax
The beginning of the year can be a stressful time for any teacher.  There are hundreds of tasks that you want to complete right out of the gate... Build relationships with students. Meet parents. Organize your classroom. Plan your lessons. New tools to learn. Just the thought of all of this can be overwhelming, but we encourage you to TRY to relax. Everything does not need to be done the first week.  Take a deep breathe...slow down... this is a fresh start to a great new year. Even though you are stressed out, your students are coming in excited to meet their new teacher(s). YOU can make it a great year or not. The choice is yours!

2. Take Risks--- Start Small
Make this the year to get out of your comfort zone, even if it just slightly.  Here is your opportunity to set a goal and achieve it. In words of our great leader, Dr. Susan Rizzo,  "Think about where you are, visualize where you want to be, and take that first step in moving in the right direction."  When thinking about technology, maybe this is trying out ONE new tool, or working to develop a Project Based Learning experience for one Learning Objective in your classroom before winter break.

3. Allow Your Students to Teach You!
Guess what?! It is completely OK for you not to know EVERYTHING. Especially in regards to technology.  If you can just get a basic knowledge of a new tool, allow your students the opportunity to explore, discover, teach each other, and you. Inevitably, there will be kiddos that rise to the top with technology. Allow them to be "experts" or "Tech-Buddies" that students can turn to with a technology problem. Be willing to utilize these student their knowledge in your classroom.

4. Be Consistent, but Willing to Change
It is always a great a idea to start out with a plan or procedure in mind.  With any procedure in the classroom, it is important to be consistent.  Take the time to go over these expectations and procedures, practice, and stick to necessary consequences.  After an implementation period, spend time time reflecting on your practices. If something isn't working how you envisioned, change it! Kids are resilient, and will be able to keep up!

5.   Attempt to Move Towards a More Student Centered Classroom
This might seem pretty big, but if you adhere to the other four tips, moving towards a more student centered classroom is something that is very doable and can happen over time.  Student centered learning could include:

  • Active Learning
    • Students Solving Authentic Problems
    • Students Formulating Questions of their Own
    • Students Spending Time Discussing, Debating, Explaining, and Brainstorming Ideas
  • Cooperative Learning
    • Students Work in Teams
    • Teacher's Support Positive Interdependence & Individual Accountability
  • Project Based Learning
    • Students Work Through a Presented Challenge & Learn Course Material to Address the Challenge
As an instructor, allow your students to have an opportunity to have voice and choice in how they share their knowledge and/or manage their work flow. Allowing for student voice and choice will promote student engagement and ownership in their work.  Provide students time to communicate & collaborate with each other and experts in the field. Leverage technology tools to foster communication and collaboration as well as provide a way to demonstrate their learning to an authentic audience.

The Instructional Technology Facilitators are wishing you a successful 2014-2015 school year!  We look forward to partnering with you!