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PC 1:1: Dave Ehlers Director of Tech

LIFEBOOK T730a Dave Ehlers2 Reviewer: Dave Ehlers

Position: Director of Technology

District/School: Weston County School District #1, Newcastle, Wyoming

Number of Students in District/School: 790

Products: Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T730 tablet PC, SMART Boards, Cisco Access Points/Controller, and Microsoft Windows Virtual Server Solutions

Goals:

We are moving into our 4th year with our 1:1 initiative in our grades 9-12. During an extensive process of LIFEBOOK T730b comparing several types of laptops/tablets/slates for our students, it was determined that the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T730 tablet PC was the best fit for our needs.

Response:

We included staff members, administration, students, parents and board members as part of the tech-choice process. We felt that even though the Slate/Ipad technology has some advantages (costs, ease of use, lower profile) it also has, in our opinion, significant disadvantages. It was pointed out that most of the features on the Slate/Ipad are applications that a consumer would use. We felt it important that we strive to mold solid student producers of materials/programs/and even Apps that others can use. Overall the product we chose received solid reviews from all our testers/evaluators. The LIFEBOOK T730 tablet PC featured solid construction, high display resolution, hard drive disk suspension, and optical drive flexibility for additional battery.

Learning Curve:

Since this is our second generation of tablets in our school district the Learning Curve is mush less than our initial deployment. Professional Development was offered and supplied by Fujitsu at no additional cost to our district. A 3-year accidental protection plan was purchased with the units, and qualified Fujitsu-trained technicians handle all support in-house. Fujitsu has offered to train additional technicians as needed.

How We Use It:

The Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T730 tablet is just a part of our overall technology deployment, for our students’ educational experience. Other devices include SMART Boards in every classroom, Cisco wireless access points with controller, and a Windows Virtual Server Solution that ensures a solid infrastructure. We pride ourselves on providing our students and staff with a consistent and reliable technology presence in each classroom. With full-time Help Desk technicians, classroom integrationist, and a focus on strong implementation we’ve created an environment for success in Weston County.

What's Ahead?:

Deployment has begun. Our staff received their LIFEBOOK T730 tablet PC prior to leaving for the summer months to become comfortable with the new unit, and students will receive theirs in the fall. There will be Staff Professional Development follow-ups this fall as part of our district's Welcome Back to School Professional Development Days. The development topics will include hardware and software updates, classroom management software, as well as Internet and Network Securities.

iTouches Curriculum Fit: Cynthia Alaniz

BITTfeatured Ca Reviewers:  Cynthia Alaniz Touchapps

Position: 4th Grade Teacher, Team Leader,

Location: Denton Creek Elem. School, Coppell ISD, Coppell, Tx

Number of students in district/school: 10,000/507

Product: Apple iPod Touch (8GB, 4th generation)

Reviewer’s Notes:  With the cooperation of our PTO, our school purchased sets of Apple iPod Touches (each with their own Parasync tray). The sets rotate among grade levels. When my opportunity came to use them, I stayed up one night trying to figure out the best way to do so. I had one of my own, and I mainly did four things with it: listen to music, play Angry Birds very poorly, take notes, and occasionally surf Safari. I knew there had to be more.

Goals:

Technology integration isn’t about the tool; it’s about how students use the tools to learn. I was looking at how to make the curriculum fit the iTouches, but I really needed to make the iTouches fit the curriculum.

How I Use It:

1. I routinely begin our Readers’ Workshop with a novel read-aloud. When students are absent, or must leave class for appointments, they miss out on a chapter, unless they have the time to pick up the book themselves later when they return. 

Solution: Using Voice Memo, a student recorded my reading, and then passed the iTouch to anyone who missed it. (Even students who’d been there wanted to listen to it again!)

2. We began studying a new genre: graphic novels.  I wanted my students to create graphic organizers to reflect their analysis of the genre.

Solution: Students used IdeaSketch to make colorful, digital visuals representing their understanding. Though they had never seen this app before, my students figured out—in no time—how to use it, and became skilled enough to teach others. 

3. I assigned a writing project in which the students had to create an original song that represented their opinions/responses to our read-aloud: The City of Ember. As a class, we had already written the lyrics, but we needed a tune.

Solution: Two piano-playing students took the Virtuoso app and composed a tune in less than 10 minutes. Another aspiring drummer took the Jam Session app and added effects. Within the walls of our upstairs classroom, we experienced a concert, and we weren’t even in the music room! 

4. My students love to give book talks, but we needed a new way to present them. 

Solution: We used the iTouch’s video feature. Two students walked around the classroom and recorded their classmates giving book talks, and we enjoyed them in class together. Spontaneous lessons of media literacy erupted as students discussed camera angles and visual effects.  

We also used the Notes and Dictionary.com Apps in the usual ways, but the students enjoyed them because they weren’t using paper. Also, having instant access to these apps provided “anywhere, anytime” learning.   

 Reviewer’s Notes: Great apps are available, and our tech specialist has downloaded many already. To try them out, I put an iTouch in a student’s hands, and watch what they do. (Ten year-olds offer instant and honest reviews.)

Learning Curve:

The creative features are the best parts of the iTouches. It’s easy to upload pictures and record quick videos, and the students are skilled at doing both. There are also many free word game apps (which work well when played with a partner). Also, having the ability to easily look up a web page on Safari makes group projects flow quickly.

Reviewer’s Notes: Make sure iTouches are always charged. Also, having a pair of ear-buds for each student is also a good idea (especially when listening to books or playing games). 

What’s Ahead: 

After having access to these devices, I am determined to write a grant for my very own set so that I never have to give them up! (I also dream of having my own iPad in class to facilitate the learning even more!)  I am utterly fascinated by mobile learning devices and their power to connect with learners. What a privilege it has been to watch my students completely engage in content and tinker with technology so effortlessly! 

Solid Instructional Decisions: Stutzman & Zukor

Turning
Belinda_hartzler2 Reviewers:  Belinda Stutzman/Dave Zukor Dave-Zukor3

Positions: Technology Integration Specialists

District/School:  Wayzata Schools

Number of Students in District/School:  10,000+

Products:  Turning Technologies ResponseCard NXT and software from Turning Technologies

Goals:

  1. A common learning experience for students across our district where teachers can use Standard Reference Data (SRDs) for formative and summative assessments.
  2. A means to efficiently and effectively gather data to store into a data warehouse where teachers/administrators can use data to make instructional decisions.
  3. Increase student achievement, engagement and motivation

Response:

Clearly, because we are increasing the use of ResponseCard NXTs in our district, the response of all Nxt stakeholders has been positive overall. Most teachers and administrators are excited about streamlining the collection of data so that the focus of time and energy can be on responding to the individual needs of students. Teachers also are excited about the reduction in paperwork so that they can focus more on instruction.  Some concerns have arisen such as student responsibility for the device, teacher training, and adjusting instruction to maximize the potential of the NXT. We continue to respond to these concerns by providing additional training and support.  We have received positive comments from parents and students regarding engagement, motivation and instant feedback.

Learning Curve:

The students were comfortable with the devices very quickly.  For teachers, training was needed to learn how to incorporate all of the Turning Technologies software options into the teaching toolbox. We, as technology integrationists, provide training after school and on an as needed basis. We also provide in-classroom support, and offer a summer tech institute for more staff development. In addition, our teachers all belong to Personal Learning Teams (PLTs).  These teams provide support in the development of assessments, use of SRDs, analysis of data and response to student needs.

How We Use It:

NXT cards are used in a variety of ways. Our teachers use them for common formative assessments across district curricular areas. For example, our 8th grade Science teachers all give the same unit tests throughout the year even though they are in different buildings, however, they meet in their PLT and analyze data from all district students to make solid instructional decisions. That data is also used to analyze their own instructional strategies and collaborate to make changes as needed.  

Exit slips, on the fly check-ins and pre-assessments are common strategies being used by teachers in all areas including PE, art, music, etc. We also use the NXT cards for summative assessments when appropriate.

Administrators, teachers and specialists use the hardware and software during staff meetings to gather data as well.  

What’s Ahead?:

We are beginning year one of our 1:1 plan for grades 3-12 using the NXT cards across our district. However, we have been using a classroom model for the past two years and because of the success of the pilot we will be moving to a learner model. 

Probing Science: Celeste Best

Lab Quest_ Celeste Best
Celeste Best Reviewer:
Celeste N. Best

Position: Biology and Anatomy Teacher, Technology Mentor

District/School:  Oyster River Cooperative School District/ Oyster River High School, Durham, N. H.

Number of Students in District/School: 2,100/700

Products:

Vernier Handheld Probeware including LoggerPro software, Vernier Video Physics, Labquest, EKG/EMG sensors, heart rate monitors, spirometers, accelerometers, hand dynamometers, respiration belts, pH sensors, colorimeters, CO2 sensors, O2 sensors, turbidity sensors, conductivity probes, flow rate sensors, dissolved oxygen sensors, ion selective electrodes, salinity sensors, spectrophotometer, UVA and UVB sensors

Reviewer’s Notes:

I teach heterogeneously mixed classes and my goal is to ensure that students get to do science and not Student2_ Celeste Best just learn about science.  Science is about thinking and asking questions and the best way to do that is to put students in the role of the scientist who creates, conducts, and analyzes the results of an actual experiment. Using Vernier equipment has allowed me to create a hands-on, laboratory environment where students can take responsibility for their own learning.

Goals

The goals for using the Vernier probeware is to create an inquiry based learning environment for all four of my science classes. 

Response:

Each June our senior science students (Anatomy and Environmental Science classes) exhibit their scientific research projects at a Science Exhibition Night. More than 300 community members attend and engage in a conversation with the students about how they conducted their experiments and what the analyzed data shows.

Other teachers in the district have started to use the probeware as a way to engage their students. Each year we do collaborative investigations with the 8th grade science classes and the 4th grade classes at our middle and elementary schools.  The enrollment in my three elective courses (marine biology, forensics, and anatomy) has increased exponentially because students are excited about the opportunity to conduct real world experiments.

Learning Curve:

Vernier technology is incredibly easy to use.  All of the sensors come with specific instructions on how to calibrate, clean and fix individual sensors. The LoggerPro software works with most operating systems and updates occur approximately two times a year. The updates are available from the Vernier website and easy to install.

The great thing about Vernier is that once you buy the software, for a very reasonable price, you have an unlimited license, which means you can put the program on all of the computers you have in your school, faculty computers at home, and you can allow the students to load the program on their home computers, too. 

Vernier has several curriculum books for different disciplines such as biology, anatomy, physics, chemistry, etc., and these have great labs in them, especially when you are just getting started. The lab instructions are very specific and cover how to set up the equipment, run the experiment, and how to do the statistical work with the data.  All of the labs are in the form of a word document so you can modify them however you see fit. 

The Vernier website has great information about grants that are available to help supplement budgets. Vernier’s technical and curriculum specific support is amazing. An email or phone call is quickly returned with expert advice on how to fix a broken sensor or help with how to use equipment in a unique way.  The company also stands behind their equipment and will quickly send new equipment to replace something that is broken or faulty.

Student1_ Celeste Best How We Use It:

I use Vernier probeware in all four of the classes I teach, biology, anatomy, marine biology, and forensics; it is a core component to my curriculum.

In biology and marine biology, we team up with all of the fourth grade classes in the district to do an ecological study on a local watershed. We investigate the aquatic (fresh and marine) and terrestrial components of the watershed and use the Vernier sensors to collect data on turbidity, dissolved oxygen, flow rate, ionic components of water, pH and many more.  Our goal is two-fold in this project, first I want my students to act as mentors to the fourth graders and show them what science is and how it can be used to study the world we live in, and secondly, to answer—“How Healthy is the Lamprey River Watershed?”

The biology students also use the UV-Vis and colorimeter sensors to investigate the essential question—“What color leaf absorbs the most light?” It allows my students to study photosynthesis and what effects the changing of leaf colors has on a tree. 

The forensics students investigate a “mysterious white powder” by using the conductivity probe, colorimeter, pH probe, and UV Vis. 

In anatomy, we use Vernier equipment on a weekly basis. Heart Rate monitors are used to examine the Fight v. Flight response, Respiration Belts are used to test the dive reflex, Spirometers test the effects of asthma, and EMG sensors test how the musculoskeletal system functions. The Vernier Video Analysis Program is a critical component to the final project in the class where students design a scientific study based on the question—“How does biomechanical analysis improve athletic performance?”

What’s Ahead?:

The goal in the near future is to receive funding to purchase Vernier biotechnology equipment, which would allow my biology and forensic classes to do electrophoresis gel analysis. Another future goal is to increase the use of Vernier technology in all science curriculum, K-12.

Interactive Teaching: Marge Cox Library Media Specialist

All Products3
Cox2a Reviewer: Marge Cox

Position: Library Media Specialist

District/School: Collier County Schools/Veterans Memorial Elementary School, Fla.

Number of Students in District/School: 984 K/5 students at VME

Products: MimioClassroom

 

Learning Curve:                 

I went from never having touched DYMO/Mimio products to quickly creating instruction for my students. Our local school district does a great job of DYMO/Mimio support, but the mimioconnect.com site provides the perfect place for educators to get new ideas or find answers to their questions.

How We Use It: 

I use all the MimioClassroom products together in my interactive teaching lessons. MimioTeach makes my whiteboard and lessons interactive. I include many of the items from the MimioStudio Gallery as it saves me time from having to create everything from scratch. For example in our lesson on the solar system, I used pre-created images from the Gallery and added my own questions to quiz students with MimioVote. I can even add my standards to the lesson slides, so they can accessed to keep me on track for meeting standards goals.

MimioView allows me to do everything I could do with my old document camera and create text on the screen for any book or slide that I show. I just used that feature this week when showing the food pyramid and typing the number of servings needed each day over the image on the screen. Students could see that information easily as they created healthy menus as part of their assignment.

My MimioPad lets me control the whiteboard from anywhere in the room, keeping me near my students and able to control the computer at the same time. I also use MimioCapture to gather, store, and save information—that I write or draw on the whiteboard—into my computer.

What’s Ahead?:

I plan to work with students to create more interactive lessons with MimioClassroom in the future. The district continues to support DYMO/Mimio products.

Challenge, Discovery, Insight, Surprise: Rader & Grzeda AP

Interrobang2  
Nick_Toni2
Reviewers:
Toni Rader and Nick Grzeda

Positions: AP English Teachers

District/School: Loudoun County High School/Loudoun County Public Schools, VA

Number of Students in District/School: 63,220 /1,410

Products: Microsoft InterroBang, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Movie Maker, Bing (Microsoft)

 

Goals:

Our goal was to invite students to participate in real world learning that begins with a challenge (that’s the question mark) that leads to discovery and ends with insight and surprise (that’s the exclamation point).  We wanted to use students’ strengths to allow them to showcase their passions and expand their personal growth in ways that support any English curriculum and standards set for students of the 21st Century.  Using Microsoft InterroBang, a social-networked service learning game, students accepted ‘missions’ that had an impact in the community and once completed, each ‘deed’ was given points which correlated into the grading process. 

Response:

InterroBang was infectious. Our students competed with their online counterparts, as well as with each other. We greatly appreciated the very quick, continuous, private feedback students received from InterroBang online moderators.  Students’ work was never posted on the public sight for other comments until their work achieved a certain quality based on the game rubrics.  This consistent, supportive, and outside input from moderators inspired students to work really hard and helped us assess the improvement of their work or deed over time. We saw quiet students come out of their shells; disenfranchised students become engaged and excited once again, and saw intelligent students fully realize the purpose of the game with their insightful comments about what they learned of their family, their school, and their community. Parents were calling to say how the last month of their child’s senior year was the most amazing ever.  One said she saw her daughter’s fire burn stronger and watched her develop wings –to see her true potential. 

Learning Curve:

 The InterroBang website made the program easy to use and implement into the curriculum as it gave a thorough explanation of how the game works and provided a rubric on how points were assigned to completed missions.  The amount of supervision required for our 11-12th grade students was minimal.  Along with the game moderators – we supervised students’ wall postings, and the comments they posted in response to other students’ deeds. We could quickly flag any inappropriate postings. 

How We Use It:

To play InterroBang, students select a mission online, complete it in the real world, and post evidence whether it is pictures or video or song of their deeds online.  Game moderators require students to write about their deed and to especially reflect on what they learned.  As English teachers, we were fine having students select missions that appealed to their interests as we required them to complete written, oral, and visual components to pass the class.  One student explained the physics involved with his skateboarding. Another student painted a mural encompassing many students' responses to Martin Luther King's, "I Have a Dream" speech, capturing their dreams. Using Bing Translator, another student communicated directly with a Chilean student and learned about cultural differences and similarities. And, another student won for creating a music video which comments on his schools need for continued financial support as well as his interests in playing the drums and competitive swimming.

What’s Ahead?

In the future we plan to require more ‘missions’ that connect to core content material and require greater depth of critical thinking and research.

Arcade Math Skills: Ben Huebsh Learning Coach

Arcademics2
BenHuebsch Reviewer:
Ben Huebsch

Position Held: Learning Coach

School: Horizon Elementary, KS

Number of Students: 450-500

Product: Arcademic Skill Builders 

Reviewers Notes: What’s at the site: arcade-style games that are propelled by correct answers to math fact questions. 

Goals:

We wanted to find a motivating way for students to develop computational fluency. We were looking for a program that would isolate specific math facts to practice and could differentiate the practice based upon the needs of individual students. Furthermore, we wanted something that would help us track individual student progress. 

Response:

Parents enjoy this program, as their children can individually practice at home. Teachers like that it replaces boring “drill-fact practice worksheets.  As a Learning Coach, it is encouraging to see all students engaged and excited about math skills. They frequently ask when they will get to practice math facts next.

Learning Curve:

It’s fairly simple to use. On the front end, we spent some time registering the individual students. It takes a few minutes here and there to assign a new set of facts for students to practice as well, but it’s minimal compared to the gains. Our only limitation is laptop/computer availability.

How We Use It:

Students log in using their own created username and password. Upon logging in, students can choose from the “assignments” strategically assigned by the teacher.  Then they get to choose the style of arcade game (e.g. racing jet skis, shooting meteors, tug-of-war), to play while practicing the targeted set of facts.

Students can compete against a computer, classmates, a teacher, or people around the world in races, which depend upon the user’s speed and accuracy. They can play several rounds of the same game, or change games after each round. In some classes, this program is used as a station for students who aren’t working in a small group with the teacher, or working in cooperative learning rotations. 

In other classes, time is set aside for the whole class to practice their own individualized fact practice assignment. This is common on days when we have an irregular schedule and need a productive activity. 

At some grade levels, we have also used Arcademic Skill Builders as an ongoing intervention for students whose parents are willing to encourage their children to practice at home.

What’s Ahead?:

We are hoping to get parents and students on board to practice over the summer and over long vacation periods. This would help with long-term retention and automaticity of the math facts.

Academic Skills Students with Autism: Teacher Becky Byers

Teachtown 
Becky Byers1 Reviewer: Rebecca Byers

Position: Special Education and Autism Teacher

School/District: William Winchester Elementary School, Carroll County, MD

Product: TeachTown Basics

 

Goal: 

We needed to improve academic skills for students with autism, focusing on the knowledge areas of cognitive development, adaptive behavior, social/emotional growth, language skills, and mathematics.  We decided on software called TeachTown Basics. 

Reviewer’s Notes:

After we administered the program, successfully, we established a secondary goal to improve students’ ability to work independently and increase time on-tasks for remediation.

Response:

Administrators have been impressed with our students’ ability to work independently for 20 to 30 minutes.  Teachers have observed new knowledge skills our students have obtained and are gaining each day. Parents like that the software licensing allows them to work at home with their children to support skills introduce in class. Students enjoy the animated characters.

Learning Curve:

TeachTown was easy to implement and manage.  We loaded the program on a Friday and started the students the next Monday. One parent-training event allowed parents to start using the program at home. The online assessment reports track data and help us to monitor student progress, and more effectively guide our development of IEPs.

How we use it:

Each day, children enter our Library Media Center and go right to their computer workstations. They work on TeachTown for two 20-minute sessions during the school day. Based on their performance, teacher-directed lessons are planned for either small, or large group, or individual instruction to assist with generalization and expansion of the required skill set. I like the verbal prompts and sequencing skills, and use during daily instruction.

We can view student data reports at any time, and also send monthly e-mail progress reports. This allows us to individualize instruction for many students. We use the reports for parent conferences, writing IEPs, providing off-computer activities, and for reinforcement. 

What's ahead?:

We have made great progress on both of our initial goals. Our school district is currently expanding the use of Teachtown with other students throughout the county. We are also purchasing Teachtown Social Skills Curriculum, a companion program to teach social behavior skills. The Social Skills program includes a lot of research and is based on principles that work for children with autism and development delay.

Video Enhances Writing: Katie Regan English Teacher

 
Learn360 Katie Regan2 _ Headshot
Reviewer:
Katie Regan

Position: English Teacher

District/School: Jordan-Elbridge Central Schools, NY

Number of Students in District/School: 100-120 in each class for grades K-12

Product: Learn360


Goals:

In using technology in the classroom, one goal I have is to engage reluctant learners. Because students love to watch TV and other visual media, streaming video and downloading content is a great way to do that. It makes sense.

Using simple videos can help bridge the gap to more complex ideas and thoughts. Students learn to respond to what they see and hear in videos and other media. This helps support the state standard for my curriculum.

Response:

My colleagues and I say it’s a great idea! Not many of my district’s teachers integrate tech as often as I do, but students love it. I posted a poll to ask them if they enjoyed using videos in their writing process and nearly all of them said yes. Knowing that, it pushes me to continue to integrate Learn360 videos and content with my lesson plans.

Learning Curve:

In order for me to give my students access to Learn360, I called to ask if it was possible to give them a generic username and password until our Moodle could be integrated with it. Then, I just search for videos that would go with my subject content, as well as inspire writing. I hyperlinked videos I found using Moodle forums, and assigned students to the different videos.

It’s easy to use and extremely accessible through our BOCES media catalog.

Note: Videos can be streamed or downloaded to a thumb drive. Some of the videos aren’t downloadable because of copyright restrictions.

How We Use It:

I use Learn360 to support student research, enhance learning new ideas, and to teach and introduce new topics.

During a research unit, I group students by the topics. It’s easy to search and find video that is age appropriate and on specific topics. I create a forum for each topic and hyperlink to the video on the necessary topics, within the forum. Students are given a discussion outline. Students can watch the videos and respond in the forum. Then, they can read and respond to what others post on the same video.

Sample Lesson:

When I was teaching character traits, I found 10 videos that displayed different traits or life skills. I assigned videos to students. They watched them, decided which character trait the character displayed, and followed a strict writing prompt.

Reviewer’s Note:

Students can go back to the content in the video at any time to review, so they aren’t restricted access—working from home or school.

What’s Ahead?:

I hope to find more places to integrate videos into my writing class. Since they engage the students and each student can watch it and then work at their own pace, I think they’d work well in writing courses.

Continued communication between media specialists and staff should continue to increase the usage. Learn360 is part of our district media catalog, which we are encouraged to use.

Educating Like Never Before: Jon Souders Biology Teacher

Delllatitude

Jon in the Smokies Reviewer:  Jon Souders

Position: Biology Teacher

District/School: West Clermont Local Schools, Glen Este High School, School for Scientific Studies, Ohio

Number of Students in District/School: 9,000; 1,500 

Products:

Goals:

1. Help every student develop basic computer productivity and research skills.

2. To make sure every student has a minimum level of access to computers—in and out of school.

3. To teach students how to collaborate using computers.  

4. To make my classroom as close to paperless as possible.  

Reviewer’s Notes:

I teach Biology, and currently collaborating on this project with a social studies teacher, and an English teacher. It is worth mentioning that this same team of teachers has been teaching Biology, Social Studies 2, and English 2 in a fully integrated setting for 8 years. I believe this experience has allowed us to be better prepared to implement this project.

Learning Curve:

For our team of teachers this has been an easy transition, because we have worked together for years. So, once we agreed on a direction the three teachers moved quickly to learn the possibilities of the system.  We all learned new segments of the process and then, frequently, shared our knowledge. 

Our students also contributed to our learning curve. When we hit roadblocks they responded with their systemic knowledge of the technologies.  For example, it was a student who showed me that if I created a “.mov” file of a video clip that I wanted to use, and then imported it into iTunes,  iTunes would automatically convert it to a podcast. 

Response:

Using a portal like Moodle has created a uniform type of classroom management that the students seem to like.  Students have commented many times that they love knowing exactly where to look if they’ve forgotten something, or if they misplace an assignment. They can simply download it from the website. 

Parents have been a little bit slower to pick up on the idea of looking at the Moodle server to find out what the students have due, but they are starting to get a handle on it. I believe it will, in the end, aid parents in knowing exactly where the students stand in class. 

How We Use It:

1. Students use their computers to complete online assignments such as quizzes, and online worksheets. These are all teacher created and located on our online courses which the teachers have created using Moodle.

a. An unforeseen bonus is that the system will grade this work, and the grades from Moodle can be imported directly into our online grade books. We use these for drill and practice and for daily progress checks. Not so much for culminating assessment.

b. Culminating assessments are given traditionally in order to assure authenticity. 

2. Students use their computers for keeping track of their assignment, for production of work, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

3. To some degree students use the computers to communicate with each other during the day. I have been able to engage students who were not engaged before, but I still have some students who resist. That challenge remains. 

What’s Ahead?

As a teacher I can say I hope this is the standard operational mode for us in the very near future.  I do not want to think about teaching without resources, such as these, in the future. I believe Web-based digital books are very close, too.  Teachers creating resources and web-based instructional materials should be on the list of next steps.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Best in Tech Today are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.