Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LD6 Educational Technology News for March 2008

Welcome to the March 2008 edition of the Local District 6 Educational Technology Newsletter.

First, I would like to thank all those of you who were responsible for completing the California Technology Survey in a timely manner. We had 100% completion again this year. Thank you!

Table of Contents
  1. District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
  2. Conferences
  3. Professional Development
  4. Great Classroom Happenings!
  5. Technology Gems
District 6 EdTech Leadership Cadre Meetings
This month, our monthly meeting was canceled due to Spring Break. A growing number of schools in Local District 6 are now on traditional calendars, so meeting during this time would have decreased attendance.

Upcoming meetings:

April 17th, 2008 4:00p.m. - 5:15p.m.
District 6 Office, 5800 S. Eastern, Commerce - 3rd Floor Conference Room
Presenter is Vic Pacheco from South East High School, sharing his learning about using online finance tools to provide authentic learning opportunities for students.
May 15, 2008 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
South East High School, 2720 Tweedy Blvd., South Gate
Presenter is David Billett, Technology Coordinator from Gage Middle School, sharing his knowledge and expertise about laptop cart management.

Conferences
  1. InfoTech 2008 - April 12, 2008 - Los Angeles Convention Center 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
    Many thanks to all the teachers who will be bringing their students to participate in LAUSD's student centered conference.

    If your students aren't participating this year, this is a great opportunity to attend and learn how other teachers and their students are using technology as a tool in the classroom, attend some workshops and talk with a few sponsors. Read more about InfoTech and register at http://infotech.lausd.net/2008/

  2. TechEd Conference - April 13 - 16, 2008 - Ontario Convention Center - FREE to LAUSD Employees!
    Over 250 concurrent sessions. This conference is a K-20 event with over 250 concurrent sessions, keynotes, and exhibitors. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to attend the conference for free. A $285 value.

  3. NECC Conference - June 29th - July 3rd - Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX
    Connect with educators from around the world at the National Education Computing Conference. The experience at this national conference is amazing! An important event happening before the conference that will make the conference attendance all the more valuable is:
    EdubloggerCon 2008
    - June 28th - Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX
    This is the 2nd annual meetup of an international group of educators who share a passion about educational technology. Come to enjoy the conversation and the learning that all who attend contribute. Attendance at this event is free.
Professional Development

FREE Google Docs tutorial on Atomic Learning until May 1st!
Have you wanted to learn about to use the great features of Google Docs, the online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software (that comes as part of LAUSD Student Mail? Atomic learning is offering its entire suite of tutorials on Google Docs free until May 1st. Give it a try and share with colleagues. These mainly cover the sharing/publication/organization features of the Google applications inside Docs, as well as several tutorials on the word processor. This is a great opportunity.

UPDATE - Free Registration at http://lz.lausd.net
  1. UPDATE Online will be offering: (click on the links to download fliers to share with colleagues)
    1. Approaches and Tools For Developing Web-Enhanced Lessons #55-21-547 beginning March 27
    2. Transforming the Classroom with Project-Based Learning #55-21-549 beginning April 2
    3. Dynamic Documentary Video Projects #55-21-658 beginning May 3
    4. Online Learning Experience (Intro to Moodle) #55-21-611 also beginning May 3
    5. Online Facilitator's Course (for those who wish to teach online workshops) #55-21-654 beginning May 10

      UPDATE online courses meet face to face at the beginning and at the end. All other course work is done online. This is a fantastic way to learn - anytime, anywhere.

  2. UPDATE is also offering many face to face courses in the next few months, including video conferencing, webquests, computer basics, PowerPoint, and interactive whiteboards. What a great way to learn and earn free salary points in the process.
Periodic Assessment Salary Point Classes
Local District 6 is offering 2 upcoming salary point courses, Building Quality Learning through Periodic Assessments. All classes will be held at the Local District 6 office, 3rd Floor Conference Room, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Elementary: April 5th and April 19th
  • Secondary: April 26th and May 3rd
Our first offering of this class with instructors Alex Gomez and Kristi Hayes was fantastic! We hope others can take advantage of this great learning opportunity.

Free registration for these courses is through the Learning Zone. Select Periodic Assessments from the Program drop down menu
while in the Course Offerings section.
If you live closer to other districts and would prefer to take the course closer to home, please check this flyer for other district offerings.


LACOE - Instructional Technology Outreach

Workshops
The Los Angeles County Office of Education offers many outstanding workshops. You can see their offerings at: http://ito.lacoe.edu/ Click on Workshops.

For example, for elementary educators there is an outstanding workshop called: Using Technology to Enhance the Open Court Curriculum and Close the Digital Divide, on Saturday, March 29th, from 8:30 to 3:30. This course is presented by Mathew Needleman, an LAUSD school literacy coach and of OpenCourtResources.com. I was able to see Mathew's presentation at CUE a few weeks ago, and it was outstanding. Share this flier with your colleagues.


Academies
LACOE offers 5 day academies to help beginning and intermediate technology using educators learn how to use tools in the classroom. Teachers also receive compensation fees for taking these courses, which have to be taken during off-track time.
Level 1 Technology Proficiency Academy
LAUSD 6-23-08 (06/23/2008 - 06/27/2008)
LAUSD 8-4-08 (08/04/2008 - 08/08/2008)
Level 2 Technology Integration Academy
LAUSD 5-19-08 (05/19/2008 - 05/23/2008)
LAUSD 6-23-08 (06/23/2008 - 06/27/2008)
LAUSD 7-7-08 (07/07/2008 - 07/11/2008)
You can register for these workshops at: http://ito.lacoe.edu/ Click on Workshops.

Podcasting Conservatory,
Thursday, October 2, 4-8 PM; Friday & Saturday, October 3 & 4, 2008, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach. Cost: $75.00
An intensive 2-1/2 day workshop for science educators who are interested in learning about podcasting as a new, accessible method to engage students in support of the California Content Standards. Register at http://ito.lacoe.edu/

Summer at Thacher in Ojai: LACOE is offering several opportunities:
The Digital Classroom and the Technology Leadership Academy will take place at Thacher in Ojai from July 27th - August 1. Fee is $1500, but there are contact numbers on the registration that will help you find ways to fund this learning opportunity.

CTAP Technology Academies Trainer of Trainers Institute (ToTI) - 11 positions open for this summer institute at Thacher. July 27th - August 1
Preference will be given to applicants who have completed Level 1 and Level 2 Academies or equivalent and have experience leading professional development workshops. A total of $1000 will be paid to participants upon completion of Institute and follow-up work. Please download this flier for more information.

Great Classroom Happenings!

Web Sites and Voice Thread
Michelle Ngai at Montara Elementary has created a wonderful teacher website which helps facilitate communication and collaboration with the parents of her students. You can find her web site at http://www.ngaiclassroom.meyertown.com Click on the VoiceThread link to find some fantastic ways that her second grade students are using VoiceThread in authentic ways across the curriculum. Fantastic work, Ms. Ngai and students!
Here's an example voicethread her students created about animal camouflage:


If you want some more ideas on how to use VoiceThread in the classroom, visit VoiceThread in Teaching and Learning, where you will find not only ideas and examples, but also some reasons why you might want to use VoiceThread as a tool in the classroom.

Video Conferences


Several teachers in Local District 6 are connecting with experts to speak with their classrooms.

  • Students in Mr. Albert's classes South Gate Middle School have been communicating with some very impressive guests.
    • Docents from the Smithsonian Institute, Museum of American Art visited through video conference to share how history has impacted art. The docents shared many interesting artifacts from early in our American history. What a fascinating way to study history!
    • The California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mr. Jack O'Connell, visited through the PORTS program several weeks ago. Students asked some very thoughtful questions about education to which the Superintendent responded. I hope to get permission to publish this discussion so that you can hear how articulate and thoughtful these middle schools students are.
  • Assembly Member de la Torre will be visiting with several classes on Monday, March 24th through the PORTS video conference program. Silvio Vidal's class from South Gate Middle School and Roderick Silva's class from South Gate High School will be talking with the assembly member. I hope to record some of these interviews.
  • Many teachers at South Gate Middle School, including Edie Walker, provide wonderful learning opportunities for their students by connecting with park rangers at various state parks like Anza Borrego and Año Nuevo through the PORTS program, using standards-based lessons to prepare for their virtual trip.
If you are interested in learning how to participate in these types of programs, please take one of the video conference courses offered through UPDATE. Paul Burns and I can help with equipment.
  • Several students at the International School in South Gate were preparing to travel to New York in an exchange program. Before they visited, they wanted to meet with the students who would be their hosts. We connected through Skype, and the students in South Gate and in New York were able to meet each other virtually before they met face to face. It was a very positive experience.Thanks to the principal, Ms. Guillermina Jauregui and the teacher librarian, Ms. Jazmin Abad, for creating this opportunity for the students.
  • 5th grade students from Ms. Jennifer Conroy's class at Independence and Ms. Tiffany Abad's class at Bryson connected through video conference for a literature circle about the book, Esperanza Rising. They will meet again to discuss the book, The Outsiders. We hope to record the conversation for a podcast.
If you are interested in developing these kinds of exchanges, please contact me. We can arrange a hands-on workshop so you can connect and facilitate this type of conversation and collaboration that extends beyond the walls of your classroom.

Please share the great ways you are using technology in the classroom by either adding a comment to this newsletter/blog or contacting me. I would love to share the great work you are all doing with others.

Technology Gems

From TechChick Tips -Episode 41 - A great podcast I've mentioned before, that has a wealth of wonderful resources:
  • "What Could It Mean?" Voicethread - http://whatcoulditmean.wikispaces.com/
    A collaborative space to share pictures and comments about items of cultural value. A great way to have students experience cultural awareness in an authentic setting. One can contribute images depicting a unique tradition, typical custom, distinctive perspectives, routines, habits and practices and/or listen and add comments to pictures contributed by others.
  • http://www.panwapa.com/
    An interactive website where students (aged 4-7) can explore cultures and global awareness. Created by educators who worked on Sesame Street, this site has several focus areas: awareness of the wider world, appreciating similarities and valuing differences, taking responsibility for one’s behaviors, community participation and willingness to take action, and understanding of and responsiveness to economic disparity. The site has audio and text in several languages, including Spanish.
  • Check out the Tech Chick Tips website and podcast at http://techchicktips.net/ for more fantastic tools with ideas about how to use them in the classroom. This podcast and website are a great resource.
Google Sky now available through a browser!
Google Sky used to only available from the Google Earth program, that needs to be installed on the computer. The great folks at Google have now made this amazing resource available from a web browser at http://www.google.com/sky/ All the rich resources can now be accessed without having to launch Google Earth. Read more about all the great features at the Google Earth/Maps blog.

Creativity
Here are some tools to spark creativity in the classroom:

LetterPop - Online Desktop Publishing - From the website, it reads, "Use LetterPop to create eye-popping newsletters, actionable presentations, irresistible invitations, beautiful product features, sizzling event summaries, informative club updates, lovely pictures, and a whole lot more." This could be a great way to publish a classroom newsletter or other classroom event, with the ability to print, email, or share with contacts.

Image Generators - Often, a message can be conveyed better with good presentation. Sylvia Tolisano, at her blog, Langwitches, recently wrote a post about image generators for all occasions. With a few easy steps, one can generate images of scoreboards, cereal boxes, iphones, magazine or book covers, etc. Visit her post to find a wealth of resources for generating these types of images for free.

Poster Generator - Glogster - A fun, free way to create posters. The site is open, so exercise caution and supervision when allowing students to use this site.

Image Tools for Mac -
Plasq, fine inventors of Comic Creator, released Skitch as a free (for now) download.
Skitch, which I shared with you a few months ago, is a product that allows you to capture, draw, and share images. I use this product all the time. It's great for quick edits of photo grabs, and has the ability to add text. Right now, in beta, it's a free download. Try it. You'll like it.

Contact Information
Janice Stearns
Instructional Technology Applications Facilitator (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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