Friday, September 07, 2007

September 2007 - Local District 6 Educational Technology Newsletter

Welcome to the new school year! Here's to a year full of excitement, learning, and professional growth for us and for our students.

Table of Contents
  1. District 6 Technology Leadership Cadre Meetings
  2. LAUSD News and Events
  3. Professional Development
  4. Grants and Funding
  5. Technology Gems
  6. Summer Experiences
District 6 Educational Technology Leadership Cadre Meetings
Everyone is invited to our District 6 Educational Technology Leadership Cadre Meetings. They will take place on the third Thursday of most every month, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Here are the dates for the upcoming meetings, so you can mark your calendars accordingly.

September 20, 2007 - Local District 6 - 3rd Floor Conference Room
October 18, 2007
November 15, 2007
January 17, 2008
February 21, 2008
March 21, 2008
April 17, 2008
May 15. 2008

Our first meeting will be on Thursday, September 20th, from 4:00 to 5:30, at Local District 6, in the 3rd Floor Conference room. If your school can host one of our upcoming meetings, please let me know. Here is the agenda for our first meeting:

4:00 - Introductions
4:05 - News and Announcements
4:40 - Google Docs and Spreadsheets
5:10 - Group discussion - The Future of Technology in Education

I hope you can attend our first meeting. The connections we make allow us all to learn more from one another about how to best serve our students.


LAUSD News and Events

Student Email

The new LAUSD student email, mymail.lausd.net, is a powerful suite of applications, including email, document/spreadsheet sharing, and calendar sharing. These tools, under the lausd domain, are provided by Google, under the Google Apps for Education. With student email accounts, students can engage in collaborative work with their peers and with their teacher. If you would like to learn more about this new set of tools, attend our upcoming September meeting. I am currently also in the process of getting a salary point class approved for learning about these tools. That class should be available by November. Additionally, if you would like for Paul and me to provide professional development for your school or for an interested group of teachers, in using these tools with students, please contact me (janice.stearns -at- lausd.net)

In order for students to have email accounts, a sub-administrator, in charge of creating student email accounts, needs to be designated at your school. If your school already has a sub-administrator, they should be able to create accounts in the new system now. Here are the directions for designating a sub-administrator for your school:
  • The first step in the process is to have your principal designate a school email sub-administrator. who will be responsible for creating and managing student accounts. Your principal can designate a school email sub-administrator by calling the ITD Service Desk (213-241-5200) and requesting that someone on his/her staff receive this type of access. In turn, the Service Desk will send a form to your principal for signatures. Once this form in submitted, the request is processed.
  • Once a school email sub-administrator is established, then this person will receive a sub-admin account that will allow him/her to create individual accounts or request the batch creation of 50 accounts or more. They will also receive directions on how to create these two types of accounts.
Multimedia Cart for Elementary Schools

Every elementary school in LAUSD will receive one laptop cart which contains a laptop and a projector for classroom use. This laptop cart roll-out will begin soon. The principal at each elementary school will be receiving email about this program now. Please remind principals to check their email. Each school will be required to send a representative to a three hour training at a designated site. The equipment will then be delivered to the school. If you would like to see the memo, you can find the correspondence in the e-library in InsideLAUSD. It is Mem-3913.

District Wide Video Conference on Grants and Funding

LAUSD will host the first in a series of district wide virtual video-conferences on Thursday, September 27th. This video-conference will serve to explain several grants that are available and how you can apply for them. Our local district location for this video-conference will be South Gate Middle School. See details here. Download a flier to share with colleagues here.

Recovery System in LAUSD Laptop and Desktop Computers

All laptop and desktop computers bought under the LAUSD contract have a theft tracking/recovery system built in. In order to keep this system activated, the computers need to connect to the Internet at least once every thirty days. Please make sure all computers in your school are turned on and connect to the Internet regularly. If a computer is stolen, one need not wait for the police report to notify the ITD Service Desk of the stolen property. Contact the service desk immediately, as well as the school police, in the event of computer theft. The process of tracking the stolen computers can begin without the police report, but in order to start legal action, the police report will need to be completed.

Professional Development


Podcasts


Howard Johnston, literacy coach at Corona Ave. Elementary, talked with me last school year about the importance of collaboration and using technology tools in the classroom and with our colleagues. Mr. Johnston has some excellent ideas about how this can be done. His style and eloquence make for an informative and engaging listen. You can download part 1 and part 2, in addition to a sample interactive file on room environment he has shared with us. Please subscribe to the podcast at:
http://district6.lausd.k12.ca.us/~edtech/

I have learned so much from talking to the few people who are featured on our podcast. I hope you find the podcasts useful also. If you would like to add your voice to our best practices podcast, please contact me. Upcoming podcasts include an interview with Bob Moore, a teacher at Montara Ave. Elementary, and Mathew Needleman, a literacy coach of OpenCourtResources fame.

CUELA TechFair 2007


Register now for the oustanding CUELA Tech Fair. It will take place on Saturday, November 3, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Hawthorne School in Beverly Hills, CA. For more information and to register, please visit the CUELA TechFair Website. Visit the website to see the amazing line up of workshops available. The keynote speaker is Chris Walsh, of Infinite Thinking Machine. It promises to be a valuable learning opportunity!

UPDATE Professional Development


LAUSD's UPDATE offers face to face and online courses for salary points. These courses are offered free to LAUSD employees. Please visit LAUSD's Learning Zone at http://lz.lausd.net Log in with your single sign-on identification and password (your email address without the @lausd.net and your same email password). Click on the "courses" tab, then select the "Class Offerings" link. Use the pull-down program menu to select UPDATE, then click "search". Courses offered in the next three months will appear.

LACOE Professional Development


The Los Angeles County Office of Education offers excellent courses for a nominal registration of $25. Check frequently for an updated assortment of courses.

Grants and Funding


BestBuy Teach Awards
Applications are now available for the 2008 Best Buy Teach Awards, which award innovative use of technology in K-12 classrooms. Winners will be announced in February 2008, and eight $100,000 district-level awards will be announced in May 2008. All accredited, public and private nonprofit elementary, middle and secondary schools located within 50 miles of a U.S. Best Buy store are eligible.
Value: Eight awards of $100,000 each
Deadline: September 30, 2007

Technology Gems

Google Earth

I want to recommend an old favorite. The newly updated version of Google Earth includes a wonderful new Sky interface, that allows a user to study planets, constellations, and galaxies. Sally Ride explains the wonderful new features in this YouTube Video. In addition, there is hidden easter egg that opens a built-in flight simulator. I seem to crash and fly in spirals when I try, but I'm sure some of you will love it.

Scratch

This amazing program from the MIT labs is a free download for both Macs and PC's. Let your students use their creativity and imagination to construct projects. This software is from the same creators of Legos Mindstorms. If you would like to learn more about this project, listen to two excellent podcasts recorded of Dr. Mitch Resnick, the founder of this project.
Skitch
From the makers of ComicLife, comes the amazing new capture/image editing software called Skitch, a mac-only platform software. With this product, you can take screen shots of just about anything on your computer or on the Internet, add to them, then publish them to documents, web pages, blogs, chats, or whatever. This software is in beta, so you can only download it with an invite. I only have two invites. If you would like this software, I will send an invite to the first two who email me a request.



My Summer

I put my summer experiences at the end of this newsletter. I thought you might find them of interest.

It's been an amazing summer for me that seemed to slip away as quickly as it came.

This summer, I attended the National Education Computing Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I was fortunate to meet, in person, so many outstanding educators from around the world, many from whom I have been learning through blogs and podcasts for the past two years. The connections I made at this conference continue through web 2.0 connections, as we all strive to offer our students the very best education we can possibly give them. I truly believe that the use of collaborative tools made possible by the interactivity of Web 2.0 can only serve to engage our students more in quality, meaningful, authentic learning.


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I also worked at the Teach the Teacher Collaborative in Ojai, California. The first week, I was fortunate to work with the Online Learning group, supporting those that are developing online courses and content for teachers and students in LAUSD. The second week I was there, I was able to work with 4-8th grade science teachers. Educators learned about collaborative tools like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Social Bookmarking, Wikis, and Podcasting. Their final project was to create a podcast. You can subscribe and download some incredible science content created at Thacher by visiting the Science Branch Website. Once you are registered and logged in, click on the Podcasts link to subscribe in iTunes. Here are some photos of teachers at Teach the Teachers in Ojai:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR


I hope to see you at our upcoming District 6 EdTech Cadre meeting on September 20th.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
ITAF, LAUSD Local District 6, Office of Instruction
Phone: (323)278-4903
E-mail: janice.stearns (at) lausd.net

Paul Burns
ITAF, Instructional Technology Branch, in support of Local District 6
Phone: (213)219-0836
E-mail: paulburns (at) lausd.net


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