Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Have your heard that ____is free during this?

Many companies are generously offering their content for free during the COVID-10 crisis. This is great, but as educators, there are some factors that need to be taken into account before jumping into this week's fad program.

Federal Regulations for children and technology:
There are three laws that govern what schools can do with students and technology. Most companies in the ed-tech sphere abide by these laws, but there are sometimes differences between free and paid versions that can be a liability for teachers. The three laws that we need to follow are:

1. COPPA: The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act prevents websites and online programs from being specifically marketed to those under 13 without parental consent. This law doesn't necessarily apply to programs that are marketed toward adults (ex. Zoom) Essentially, students who are under 13 cannot use programs that are not designated for their use.
2. CIPA: The Children's Internet Protection Act requires schools and districts to provide measures that help protect student safety online including education, filtering, and other measures. This is why YouTube has been blocked for elementary students and our internet filters are in place.
3 . FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects student privacy and bars the unauthorized release of student information. This can become an issue when sites are offered for free. Often, free apps make money through advertising revenue or data mining. When students are logged into a site, particularly one that is handling personal information, images, or other data, this data may be fair game for the site to mine and sell to third parties.

For this reason, we implore you to wait on adopting a program immediately. Instead think it through using these steps:
1. Do we have something that accomplishes this goal already? If we do, it is best to minimize both data risks, liability, and more practically, the number of sites students need to figure out and learn.
2. Have you read the privacy policy? If not, take a look. They detail how a site uses everything from what your camera sees (if used with the site/app) to what hardware or software you have on your computer and everything in between. Much of this may be personal data we don't want to encourage students to share if we can avoid it.
3. Who is the original intended end user? Companies that are oriented toward the education sector typically have specific polices that address each of the laws above and specify their adherence toward them in plain language (as required by COPPA). If the end user is intended as a corporate user, the policies may be harder to find or non-existent.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Wait, Is Her Chromebook Screen Showing on Her Projector?

Yes. Yes it is.

Google Cast for Education is a Google Extension that WCS has added to all teacher accounts which allows a teacher to "cast" their Chromebook screen (or any device running Chrome) to another device running Chrome!

Since our desktop computers are attached to projectors or TVs, you can show the room what is on your Chromebook while staying in the front of the room or as you walk around!

Step by step instructions for WCS teachers can be found HERE.

Video Instructions

#WCSwhereUbelong | #WestervilleWay | #WCSOHEdTech

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

No More School, No More Books, but my Tech is Giving me Dirty Looks...

You've almost made it to the end of the year. You are taking down posters and cleaning up your room, but what about your tech? There are a number of housekeeping things you can do now so that your classroom tech isn't a mess when you return in the fall.

1. Clean up your Google Account:
- Does your inbox make you cringe? you can archive and label your mail so that it is organized, but not cluttering your inbox. Nothing is deleted in this process, but you can put it out of sight until it is needed later.

- Clean up your Drive:
Now is a great time to take a look at your files in Drive. Do you add files to the main screen every time you start a Google doc? Are there 47 Untitled Documents that are sitting with no text in them? Delete what you don't need, and create files for the rest that organize what you have in a simple way for you. You can even color code your files!
2. Take a look at Schoology: 
Your current courses in Schoology are archived each summer. You still have access to them, but will need to search for them in the archived courses area. Instead of digging through old classes, this is a great time to save the materials you want to your resources. You can create files and organize any assignments, etc. in your resources so they can be easily added to next years classes saving you work and time! To do this: 
1. find a folder, file, or other item in a Schoology course
2. Click the gear icon
3. choose "Save to Resources"
4. Click the Resources tab at the top of the page and your selected files will now be in your Resources. Clicking the gear here will allow you to "add to course", move files, and reorganize to better meet the needs of next year's students. 
5. Do you have a team you teach with? You can even create/share resources with the group by creating a Group within Schoology resources. 

3. I'm Leaving Now:
Are you leaving for a new job/ graduating/ retiring? You can take the contents of your Google account with you. Use Google Takeout. This program allows you to choose the areas of your account you want to take with you and export the data to another account. It is a great way to retain access to any important items you have, portfolios to show prospective employers, things to hang on the fridge, etc. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Schoology Connect OH

Register for Schoology Connect OH!

Want to learn more about how teachers around central Ohio use Schoology in their classrooms? Come to Schoology Connect OH this summer! It's a local, free conference for anyone interested in learning more about how Schoology can be used in K-12 classrooms and schools. Want to use Schoology for gamification? Want to learn more about Schoology Media Albums? Want to dive into how Google and Schoology can compliment each other? What about digital math tests? Personalized learning? Digital Breakouts? All of these topics and more will be discussed, analyzed, presented, and played with. (plus, there is free food. Just sayin'...)


Who Should Attend?
Educators and administrators in Ohio or neighboring states who are currently using Schoology or who are considering adopting Schoology for their district or school.

When & Where
Thurs. June 20th, 2019 | 7:30am - 4:00pm ET

Berlin High School
3140 Berlin Station Road
Delaware, OH 43015

What to Expect

The event will kick off with an inspiring keynote focusing on advancing what's possible in education.

Breakout Sessions:
Hear from other Schoology users on a range of topics including ongoing professional learning, student-centered learning, assessment and feedback, leadership and administration, engaged communities, and what's new with Schoology's LMS and AMP.

Professional Development:
Learn from and ask questions to Schoology product experts and collaborate with other educators.

Session Titles
 Session Descriptions (more to come)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Accessing GALE Resources in Schoology

Not that kind of Gale

GALE has created a series of resources that are available for teachers and students to use for research and lesson planning. These resources have been made available through Schoology to make it easier to incorporate them into assignments and student work without needing to login. 
Gale is "deeply integrated" which means any article can be pulled into an assignment, discussion, etc. from within Schoology itself.

Create an Assignment, etc. in Schoology:

1. Create an assignment, discussion, etc. and choose the "insert content" button at the top menu bar

2. Choose a database from the list that pops up.
3. This will open the database within the assignment window. Find the article that you would like to include
4. When you find the article, look at the right menu bar. There are two options for including the article: embed or link. Embed will put the article inside the assignment window and give all Gale's tools to students within Schoology. Link will open Gale in a separate window

GALE truly provides an awesome amount of research possibilities and information: From analyzing different points of view on a topic, to deep looks at different topics in any subject area, we encourage you to explore these great resources with your classes.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Formatting Digital Worksheets

We've talked about reflecting on instructional practices using the SAMR model for a while now. While higher level tech integration in classrooms is great, sometimes simple tasks still need to be completed. While worksheets can serve a purpose in a classroom, when we switch to a digital version for submission, we might want to take a look at the formatting when we do. A few simple conversions will make a lot of difference!

When worksheets were on paper, there was a need for lines to be present so students could respond to questions. Physical space had to be included in the original so that students could add to the worksheet.

1. Answer the question below:




However, in a digital world, these worksheets can be manipulated after they have been assigned to offer the space needed for students to submit their work!

Using Schoology's Google Drive Assignments, teachers can create templates for students to add their own responses. These worksheets work just like their paper counterpart, however, students have the ability to format the document as they respond. This means that the lines that we used to include for handwritten responses are no longer needed. Instead, create spaces for students to respond digitally!

Using Google Drive Assignments creates a copy of the document, adds the student's name to the title, and time stamps when it is submitted. Therefore, there is no longer a need to have a placeholder for the name, date, or eventual student work. These are all added after the work has been assigned.

Kids will then be able to open the document right in Schoology and add their responses in the appropriate spaces, then hit the submit button. 

[read more about Google Drive Assignments on Schoology's Blog here!]

With a little manipulation, teachers can use the worksheets that they have created over the years in the digital space that kids are becoming more and more accustomed to. As always, if you have any questions about how this works, or want someone to help you walk through it, reach out to your building's Ed Tech Coach!

#WestervilleWay | #WCSwhereUbelong

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Schoology Connect Conference June 20, 2019

JUNE 20, 2019
8AM - 3PM

Olentangy Berlin High School
3140 Berlin Station Rd,
Delaware, OH 43015

Calling all educators and administrators! Join us June 20, 2019 for CONNECT OH - a FREE day of interactive, professional learning opportunities with Schoology!

With regional networking and relevant content, this one-day event will leave you inspired and ready to advance what’s possible in your school or district.

CONNECT OH will include:
  • A special message from Schoology on Advancing What's Possible in Education
  • A keynote from a local educator or administrator to kickoff the day
  • Your choice of sessions from Schoology and the community on topics like:
  • Ongoing Professional Learning
  • Curriculum Framework
  • Student Centered Learning
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Engaged Communities
  • Leadership and Administration
  • What’s New with Schoology’s LMS and AMP
  • Networking opportunities with educators and education leaders in your region
  • The opportunity to learn from and ask questions to Schoology product experts
  • A certificate of participation that can be used for continuing education units (CEUs)
Registration will be open soon, but we are currently accepting presentation proposals: Share Your Expertise! presentation proposals are due APRIL 1st! No Joke!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Everfi is now linked with Clever!

Recently Everfi became fully integrated into the Clever portal, meaning that the materials available can now be linked and assigned to your classes!

Everfi is a FREE program available to all WCS teachers that uses interactive digital content to engage students in lessons focused on topics like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, STEM exploration, social-emotional learning, and health & wellness. Courses are age-appropriately designed for elementary, middle, and high school students. Current courses include:

  • Healthier Me
  • The Compassion Project
  • Summer Slugger
  • Future Goals: Hockey Scholar
  • Vault: Understanding Money
  • Ignition: Digital Literacy & Responsibility
  • Healthier Me
  • Character Playbook
  • Future Smart
  • Endeavor: STEM Career Exploration
  • Venture: Entrepreneurial Expedition
  • Honor Code
  • Sandy Hook Promise: Say Something
  • Mental Wellness Basics
  • AlcoholEdu
  • Prescription Drug Safety
  • 306: African American History
  • EVERFI: Financial Literacy
In addition to interactive digital resources aligned to state standards, educators also receive real-time reporting to see students' baseline knowledge and growth, lesson plans and discussion questions, access to EVERFI's ever-growing library of digital curriculum, and student scholarship opportunities.

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If you have any questions about the courses listed above or how to get students access to these course materials, don't hesitate to contact your Ed Tech Coach!

#WestervilleWay | #WCSwhereUbelong

Friday, March 1, 2019

MakerX 2019 is Coming!

Looking for an activity to which you can bring your family, inspire your educator side, and also have a great time? Well, look no further. MakerX 2019 is coming!

MakerX, The Columbus Maker Expo is an annual public festival celebrating "creating with

technology". It brings together makers from all over the region to share their work and engage
the public. The core of MakerX is non-profit educational institutions in the Columbus region but
the event welcomes participation by community makerspaces, other non-profits, businesses,
clubs, and individuals.

There will be exhibitors and activities for everyone including drone racing, robotics,
augmented and virtual reality demos, DIY instrument building, garden welding,
3-D printing demos and samples, coding, Lego, cardboard creating and much, much more. A complete list can be found here.

Westerville City Schools will be represented by students and teachers showcasing coding
and robotics. The Augmented Reality sandbox will be present for hands on experiences,
as well.
MakerX The Columbus Maker Expo is a festival of creating with technology. It is suitable for
all ages and will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 in the Buckeye Building of the
Ohio Expo Center (aka State Fairgrounds).

For more information, please see the MakerX website or contact Rachel Lacy or
Anne Baldwin with any questions.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Cool Stuff We Learned at OETC

This week the Ed Tech Team as well as other Westerville staff went to the Ohio Education Technology Conference. This year's theme was Artificial Intelligence and there were a number of speeches and sessions focused on how AI might transform the world of education.  We learned a ton of cool stuff and are bringing the highlights (and accompanying resources) back to you! Below is a small sample of the hundreds of sessions that were held over three days. Take a look at any/all that interests you!

Create a Self Organized Learning Environment!
SOLE is a specific program that has some value, but there are a number of features of the program that can be applied to many different circumstances. The framework is useful for guiding inquiry based learning. Links in the presentation contain a number of resources including question stems for beginning and inquiry process.

Google Doc add ons for students and  teachers!
There are tons of great add ons (mini programs that extend the functionality of Google docs) there are options that allow rubrics, voice grading, equation editing, block distractions, and a host of other options including some interesting surprises!

Machine Learning with Google Explore and AI Experiments!
Google has a ton of experimental AI programs that can be applied to different classes. Many of these are also helping Google train their AI programs in how to recognize different inputs. For art and music teachers in particular, there are a ton of ways to create art or music from different interesting inputs (For example, creating music from how a painting looks) Other options are aimed at Universal Design for Learning and other accommodation that can make it much easier to reach students with particular needs such as real time closed captioning on Google Slides.  Take a look at the hundreds of cool projects! The best part is they are open source and you can contribute your own if that is your inclination.

Clever Crazes for Kids: FREE Steam-integrated K-8 Academic Enrichment!
This site was created by U.C. and Purdue. It consists of different games and challenges for kids that revolve around STEAM learning. (Science/tech/engineering/art/math) The kicker here is that kids can earn real prizes for what they do here. The materials are fun and engaging and can be a nice supplement for kids.

Open Space: Open Education Resources from InfOhio!
InfoOhio has created a site where they gather Open Education Resources. These are free, completely modifiable materials that operate under Creative Commons Licensing which means that you can change them, cut them up, use them, etc. as long as the original author is credited. They are curating the resources on this site. Looking for something new to get away from repetitive textbook exercises? Start here! (or ask your tech coach- its what we do!)

The Future Ready Framework!
Westerville signed on the Future Ready Framework awhile back and PD is ongoing about the different gears that make up the framework. All the gears are aimed at making sure students are...ready for the future

Smartphone Addiction!
Smartphones allow us to access ways of connecting with people, succeeding, sharing stories, and getting positive feedback  as much as we want. This has led to adults and students becoming addicted to smart devices. Some interesting statistics were shared regarding the lack of self control that many people feel they have over the phone usage. This reality gives us the opportunity to have productive discussions about how to guide students (and adults) into using phones for productive reasons, not just for entertainment and breaking cycles of addiction while maintaining the positive impact of technology. 

General themes!
Universal Design for Learning 
is emerging as a new facet of education trends. Remember, the names are different, but the intent is the same. Give every student the best education possible using the tools we have available.

Applying Blended Learning in the classroom.
A number of teachers presented on how they are applying using technology and other tools to personalize learning for their students (again, good teaching wrapped in a trendy title) They offered a great chance to see things in action across every grade level. Many teachers were also open to having visitors. If this is something you are interested in, let your tech coach know and we can talk more about how to implement this.

Tools, Tools, Tools
In almost every session, presenters shared new and existing tools they use to improve the efficiency of their teaching and how their students access knowledge. There are far too many to list here, but we encourage you to think about things you have always wanted to do. Chances are that there are tools that will assist in doing that. Talking to your ed-tech coach or library media specialist is a great place to get started!

Pizza can be improved?
Apparently, it is possible to order a hot dog stuffed with pizza toppings with the bun created by...wait for it....a slice of pizza. According to all who tried it.  This is a true game changer.

this is just the tip of all the different things that we saw at OETC. If you want to improve instruction, try something new, or just hear more about what we saw, let your Ed-Tech coach know!