Feb 1, 2013

Middle School Institute Day Success!

With the news of 1 to 1 integration in the middle school, comes the issue of training teachers on software which the district supports and showing them what it means to transition from a traditional classroom setting to a digital classroom. Which is why the next three Unit 5 institute days are dedicating the afternoon to technology sessions. During the January institute day we offered three different class choices. Teachers registered through Surveymonkey for the classes they wanted to attend during the institute. See below....

Mastery Manager - This is an online assessment tool. In our district we are using this software for common assessments as we get move toward all the common core standards. Teachers build an Item Bank with questions they will use in either small assessments like quizzes or in unit or final exams. Each Item Bank is created in conjunction with a unit being taught. Item banks questions are then used to generate the assessment for the students. Teachers then activate the assessment for the class and students login and take the assessment. The assessment is graded by the computer and can be imported into our online gradebook.

The feedback here was great, and I have had so many teachers e-mail me or the instructors for specific help. Area teachers for Chorus created an item bank and assessment for their 6th grade curriculum standards and Heidi Roach, (EJHS) tested it with her 6th grade students last week. Mary Watterson a FACS teacher (KJHS), created an assessment and is testing it this week with her students after attending the institute day.

CMS - Course Management System or Moodle for those on the outside. This class is being offered because there are several teachers who are ready to move their classrooms from the traditional to the digital. We help teachers understand how to use CMS and how to embrace the digital platform. Teachers use CMS to place their course materials online for students to access anywhere they have an internet connection.

This is a great resource for students and teachers. Teachers can upload all curriculum materials to this site for students to download and save directly to their Google Drive. If a sub is needed, teachers can record their lessons or do a review video and post it to the site and students can login watch the video or grab the needed assignments for the day. Students also can upload their digital projects to turn in boxes so teachers can grade right from their computer. No more taking home all those papers because it is all online!

During the institute day teachers were excited to learn about the technology and also to have time to start building their curriculum site. We are off to a great start but know there is so much more out there for teacher to learn.

Google - Google allowed the teachers to see how to integrate Google Docs into the classroom. Many teachers have a Google e-mail address outside of school, but do not work with all the other services that Google offers. Even though we have restricted access for students and teachers in our Google setting, it still gives them the access to share documents, use all the Google Docs and have students e-mail them directly.

The feedback I heard about Google was good! The availability for writing teachers to be able to see students compose directly and make comments is a tremendous step forward. Teachers also love the sharing aspect of the folders and file system as they worked with their teams and saw the potential for collaboration between students. This came up in a lit and comp discussion about “Book Talks”, while I am monitoring a book talk verbally, I can have my students be answering questions and collaborating on a google doc about characters, themes, etc... The possibilities are endless.

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