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Evernote Education: Russ Goerend

RussReviewer: Russ Goerend

Position: 6th grade Language Arts

District/School: Waukee / Waukee Middle School, Iowa

Number of Students in District/School: 7,000 / 850

Products: Evernote, Doxie Scanner, smartphone camera



Reviewer's Notes:

I use Evernote because it works so well to create and capture different forms of media (audio, video, images, and text). The basis for the system is to capture student learning, which could be done with different tools.

Goals: 

Documenting student learning in (more) authentic ways. Evernote allows me to capture and organize anything I can digitize. Pictures of student work, video of students learning, audio of student conferences, scans of student work, clips of student blog posts. 

Response:

Administrators have appreciated my work because it is helping to document student learning. Students think it's "cool" that I have digital copies of so much of their learning. Parents have not been as excited as I'd hoped.

Learning Curve: 

Evernote itself, and importing documents is easy to learn. The actual setup of notebooks and tags that I use has taken a few years to get where it is. I would recommend playing with notebooks and tags to see what works best for you. Evernote is software I used before I was a teacher and I still use a ton outside of school. I use it to organize our garage and our kitchen, for example.

What’s Ahead?: 

I worked with 6th graders who are all under 13. Unfortunately, this means they can't have their own Evernote accounts. If they could -- or if we can find a way to have parents create the accounts for them or something else -- the next step would be to get them doing the collecting, analyzing, and organizing of their own artifacts. That would be the key for me. Right now, we're working on having students take over the evaluation aspect of the artifact collection. As of now, I'm the one deciding what gets digitized or not. I want the students to be the ones doing that.

 

Classrooms Collaborate with Projects by Jen

WagnerReviewer:  Jennifer Wagner

Position:  Online Project Coordinator

Online Site:  ProjectsByJen.com

Number of Students in School: 825

Products:  Voice Thread, Animoto, Smilebox, Google Docs & Forms, Dreamweaver, Microsoft Office, and the ProjectsByJen site - http://www.projectsbyjen.com/.

Goals:

The primary ProjectsByJen goal is to seamlessly and effortlessly weave various opportunities of tech into Jw1 the PreK – 6th grade classroom, while at the same time setting up collaboration activities for interaction.

Response:

My first project in 1999 had 125 responding classrooms, most current project over 1300.
Because standards are shared with each project, and the projects can be molded to fit within each teacher’s schedule and curriculum, the response has been positive. I receive emails from teachers, admins, and parents thanking me for offering these projects online so their students can participate. Each classroom is also earns a participation certificate to showcase their involvement.

Learning Curve:

The learning curve is different within each classroom; however, detailed instructions are provided with each project as well as activities and extension ideas. Tutorials are provided as well as several online community forum areas. If a teacher has any difficulty, there are many ways to get support. If any teacher is creating their own worksheets, etc, they usually share out their ideas there. 

How We Use It:

Reviewer's Note: All of my projects can be found here:  http://projectsbyjen.com/archives.htm

Sample Projects:

Most teachers in the Prek – 6th grade level will have some sort of harvest lesson during the last week of October, which will probably involve a pumpkin. The Pumpkin Seed project takes what will already be done and weaves in a math lesson, pumpkin costume show, and many other activities, which can easily be used during this harvest theme time. If a teacher wishes, there are also opportunities for the classroom to collaborate with other classrooms via Skype, e-mail, snail mail, or various other ways.  At the end of this project, all results collected are displayed in graph form, available in a downloadable spreadsheet, and participants are placed on a map. This project easily incorporates math, literature, science, art, history, technology, spelling, and more.

What’s Ahead?:

ProjectsByJen has 6 more planned projects for the school year, including The Holiday Card project in December, which truly brings the holiday spirit into your classroom in a very geographical way. The St. Patrick’s Day project blends graphing, sorting, and estimation into the K3 classroom. A new project, “Picture This”, where 24 different classrooms will share in creating a masterpiece of collaboration will be hosted for Spring. 

Reviewer’s Notes:

ProjectsbyJen is offerered at no charge to classrooms around the world.  However, to subsidize website expenses, I do offer a monthly newsletter, Wordle Packets can also be found at http://www.projectsbyjen.com/, along with  a book entitled “35 Tech Tips for Teachers”. 

Google Sites for Interactive Class Content: Jennifer Levy

Jenni2 Reviewer: Jennifer Levy

Position: Social Studies Teacher

School / District: New Milford High School, New Milford, NJ

Number of Students in District/School: 3,300

Product: Google Sites, COURSEsites.com by Blackboard

 

Goals:

To create an interactive website that provides course content, contact information, homework, class newsletters, syllabi, permission slips, classroom rules, SAT and college admissions information, and allows students to submit work directly to me.

Response:

Students are able to access the website easily, parents are able to check student progress, and my supervisor can view what I am doing in class both daily and monthly.

Learning Curve:

Google sites, along with Google docs and Google forms from Google, are very easy to use. You need to allocate some time to create your website, but you can always save it and come right back to it where you left off. You do not need to know anything about programming to do this. I have been able to edit and set it up without issue.

How We Use It:

Students go onto the course website during class to fill in online questionnaires, take quizzes or tests, or finish up non-essay related homework. At the beginning of the year, students submit their contact information and a little about themselves to the website.

Using Google forms along with the website has enabled students to take tests and polls. I have even used it successful to launch mock APs, SATs, and HSPA format exams. It does best with multiple choice or short response questions. I can program it easily to create spreadsheets and target individual student and class weaknesses. Your student answers in a Google spreadsheet  is similar to working in an excel document, but in my opinion it’s better, because you don’t need Windows Office software.

What's Ahead?:

Goals for the future...

Using my website to have students submit their essay-style homework to a central database (like a cloud) without having students email me, as well as using the new Blackboard COURSEsites.com to help accomplish this.

Assistive Technology Creates Independent Learners

Saywire GarzaReviewer: Sally Garza
Position: Upper School Technology Director
District/School: Lawrence School, Upper School, OH
Number of Students in School:  225
Products:  Saywire, Read & Write Gold by Texthelp, Kindle for PC App with Accessibility Plugin

Goals:

Lawrence School serves students with learning differences, many of whom need assistive technology to read or as a prosthetic processor to make reading an easier task. Our technology goals are to offer tools that allow students to become independent learners, and collaborate and communicate outside of school for school and social purposes.

Response:

Once students and teachers are trained it is very easy to use the tools. Saywire has allowed our students, middle school students in particular, to do school work and keep in social contact with their peers in a safe environment. The school monitors within Saywire.

Learning Curve:

Most of the software is fairly intuitive to learn, requiring training for staff but not as much for students. We do about 15 minutes of technology training for each staff member each week on specific tools in Read & Write Gold and Saywire to make it easier to use.

How We Use It:

Using the Kindle App for PC with Accessibility Plugin with Read & Write Gold (assistive technology software) allows books to be read aloud by the computer for students with dyslexia and other visual processing issues. Then students post reviews of the summer reading book in Saywire, the school online learning community as well as post their projects about their books.

What’s Ahead?:

We are going to expand the Kindle App Library to all students in the Upper School. We are also continuing to use Saywire in our classrooms for class/course pages, and incorporate it into “Calamity Days” plans for online school days through Saywire for weather cancellations.

edmodo Collaboration & Communication: Andy McKiel

EdmodoExample
Andymckiel Reviewer: Andy McKiel

Position: K-12 Curriculum Coordinator

District/School: St. James-Assiniboia School Division

Number of Students in District/School: Approximately 8500 students

Product: Edmodo

Goals:

Our administrators were looking for better ways to communicate student learning between school and home. Our teachers have been looking for opportunities to encourage their students to work collaboratively in online spaces in a safe and secure environment. Our students would like to have access to social networking tools within the classroom.

Response:

Edmodo has enabled our administrators to highlight events that are taking place within the school community. Our teachers have found that Edmodo has been a great tool to enable their students to demonstrate their learning and provide their peers with descriptive feedback. In addition, our teachers find that the secure nature of posting notes and assignments within Edmodo groups encourages their students to take more risks (safely) than if they were posting their thoughts and ideas more publicly to a blog.

Learning Curve:

Our staff has found Edmodo to be extremely easy to implement. We began our district implementation with a one hour webinar that could accommodate up to 50 self-selected teachers/administrators. Over thirty participants took part in the webinar, and we were able to highlight the many features of Edmodo, and provide participants with the details they needed to get started the very next day.   

How We Use It:

Many of our schools use the calendar feature within the Edmodo groups and communities to highlight upcoming events and activities. Classroom teachers are posting assignments and providing their students with descriptive feedback based on the work that they submit through Edmodo. Our teachers also share their questions and success stories with teachers in other schools throughout the district.  

What’s Ahead?:

We're currently focusing our efforts on increasing the number of teachers and students within our district who are using Edmodo to connect and collaborate. By encouraging our teachers to share their success stories, and describe the value that Edmodo has added to the teaching and learning that takes place within their classrooms (and beyond), we've found that other teachers are eager to get started.   

Reviewer’s Notes:

We've been thrilled with the positive impact that Edmodo has had in our classrooms and schools, and can't say enough positive things about Edmodo. This is an incredible tool for communication and collaboration, and the fact that it's free and easy makes Edmodo a tool that no teacher should be without...

RM Slate 1:1: James Monti

RM Slate
Jim2 Reviewer:
James Monti

Position: Director of Technology

District/School: West Warwick Public Schools, RI

Number of Students in District/School: 3,500

Products: RM Slate

Goals:

We wanted to move toward ubiquitous wireless access everywhere in the district.

We knew that touchpad technology was the direction we wanted to move towards, but we were skeptical about moving to a non-flash environment. We also wanted a tool that we could use with Aspen, our SIS.

Response:

Students as young as kindergarten age have been using RM Slates. We know they're getting used extensively, because the most popular message our helpdesk has received is: "How do we clean dirty finger prints from the screen?" We love that type of helpdesk question.

Learning Curve:

By using the RM imaging services we were able to simply hand the tools out to students and teachers after a minimal run through for each machine. Students and teachers were able to use the machines qiuickly, and the Slates were pretty intuitive, regardless of user age.

How We Use It:

The Slate fits perfectly onto tabletops for our wheelchair bound students. It was fabulous that we could use existing assistive technology software. We started to use the RM Slates for some state testing at the 4th and 8th grade levels. Then we dropped the Slates into the classrooms, where they've been used non-stop by the teachers and students.

What’s Ahead?:

We want more! We want to find funding sources to purchase a Slate for every teacher and administrator for use with Rhode Island's new Educator Evaluation System.

KUNO 1:1 Android: Drew Markel Assist. Principal

KunoTablet
Kunoreviewer
Reviewer:
  Drew Markel

Position: Assistant Principal

District:  Crothersville Community Schools, Crothersville, IN

Number of Students:  550

Product: KUNO Tablet with CurriculumLoft Explore 1 to 1

Goals:

We wanted Android-based tablet environment for 1:1 to give each student a managed Internet and network capable device. We also wanted teachers to upload their current curriculum in a cloud environment so that building lesson plans will be as easy at home as it is at school.

Response:

All stakeholders were excited about the plan to implement a 1:1 initiative. The project is fully supported by the Board as well as teachers and students.

Learning Curve:

Many students are already acclimated to using touch-screen-based technology. The use of the KUNO was not a hard transition for the students to make at all. We added school-wide wireless in preparation for the project. We want our students marketable in today’s workplace.

How We Use It:

We are a rural, high poverty area. This means that many students don't have the means to obtain WiFi, or broadband access due to cost as well as location. We needed a way to allow for students to have their curriculum downloaded to a device that could be taken home with them and accessed later. The KUNO and CurriculumLoft Explore1to1 allowed for that “sync” to take place in the school where Internet access is available. The students can later return home and access that information, even if they don’t have Internet access.

What’s Ahead?:

We will be running a project parallel to the KUNO tablet project installing a complete VDI (Virtual Desktop) Solution. We will utilize CISCO UCS servers running virtual clients. These virtual instances will be available both on the students Wyse thin clients in a lab or classroom setting and in virtual instances on the KUNO.  All virtualization will be managed using the VmWare suite of products with an EMC storage array.

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