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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: December 2009

The deadline for the Show-Me a Movie contest was last week. Over 160 student produced digital stories came flying in to the VLC. After the holidays nearly 20 educators & experts in digital media will judge the movies in the following categories: Show Me A Challenge, Show Me Your Community, Show Me Something New & Show Me A Story.

Martha Bogart, Program Coordinator, stated that nearly half of the digital stories submitted are in the middle grades, 6th-8th.  “More and more middle school teachers are embedding multimedia projects into their curriculum, especially in the areas of Science, Social Studies, and Communication Arts.  We are also finding many Character Education & Cultural Diversity movies submitted.”

The winners will be awarded at CSD‘s 27th annual Midwest Education Technology Conference.  “A Night at the Movies” reception honoring the students and their teachers will be held Tuesday afternoon of the conference. Popcorn, soda, pretzels and more will be served to all reception attendees. The sponsor of the Show-Me a Movie contest is Tech4Learning.  They will have representatives present at the conference and attend the reception, so make sure to register for METC, and attend February 8th-10th.

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Digital stories are the 21st century essay.

As part of a year long professional development opportunity, nearly 20 educators gathered in the tele to create their digital masterpiece. These teachers are creating digital stories with the help of the educational technology instructors at CSD.  This long-term professional development is called integrating Technology Educators Academy. The iTEA is offered as one of the many VLC programs at Cooperating School Districts.

For the 2nd year, Ritenour School District is participating in the VLC‘s iTEA. With a focus on digital storytelling & using classroom strategies with technology,  participants are reading two books, DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories & Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works.  Through both face-to-face and online formats, the teachers are learning & sharing lesson ideas, curriculum resources, classroom management strategies and more.

Currently the VLC is providing several academies to area school districts with a variety of goals and expected outcomes.  Each academy is created based on the needs, resources, and programs currently in the district or school.  All of the iTEA’s use an online course management system so teachers can access the handouts & resources, as well as collaborate & receive feedback 24/7.

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Over twenty educators from the St. Louis area & Arkansas learned how to integrate technology into their teaching and learning using the iPod touch. The Technology Leadership Academy met for their 3rd time today as part of a year long professional development opportunity offered by the VLC at CSD.  This popular academy provides professional development for teacher leaders.  As the participants learn about various technologies, they create an Action Plan for their school or district.   The Action Plan is developed based on the needs of the school, including steps for integrating technology.  Online resources such as Google Docs, Delicious, Diigo & Moodle are used to help collaborate & learn together.

Educators receive an iPod touch as part of the TLA.  Michael Porterfield, Instructor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis assisted in the teaching and learning.  He shared with the participants how to use the iPod touch for email, movies, images & more. Teachers walked away with great ideas for using them in the classroom and as educational leaders in their schools.

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Magic Glasses

Taking a critical look at the 6 elements of digital storytelling.

Ten lucky high school teachers in the St.Louis area are spending the day with Bernajean Porter, national & international collaborative staff developer.  Today’s workshop is part of the ARRA Grant written by CSD‘s Virtual Learning Center staff.  Five history teachers from each district,  Ritenour & Ferguson Florissant are creating digital stories.  This morning teachers are empowered to critically look through magic glasses at the 6 elements of a good digital story.
As part of the grant, the participants will be creating digital stories with one of their classes next semester.  Each teacher has also provided 3 lesson plans that integrate technology.  These plans have been evaluated using several criteria including the Grappling’s Technology & Learning Spectrum, MO 4th Cycle MSIP, DOK, and McRel’s Researched-Based Instructional Strategies.  One of the goals of the grant is that there will be improvement of understanding and implementation of each of these areas.

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February 8-10, 2010

The Super Early Bird registration for the Midwest Education Technology Conference has been extended to Tuesday, December 15th.  The pre-conference sessions on Monday are filling fast.  In these full and half day workshops you can learn about Digital Projects, Give Your Lesson Plan an Extreme Makeover, or Learn more about Second Life or Twitter, among other choices.
Be sure to also check out the full list of shorter breakout sessions for Tuesday & Wednesday in the Program Grid.  Breakout sessions are organized into 13 topic strands such as Web 2.o, Differentiated Instruction, Leadership & Professional Development & Library Media Center.  You can also search the program by keyword, then register online.

Come hear some of the top educational leaders in technology. Wesley Fryer, Deneen Frazier Bowen, Scott Meech & Leslie Fisher are a few of the Keynote & Featured Speakers invited to METC this year. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @METC_CSD , register on the METC Ning, or check out the METC Flickr page to find out all of the latest updates.

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Once again the Virtual Learning Center‘s SMART Board class is full!  Our Technology Enhanced Learning Environment, usually referred to as the tele, has educational technology classes, workshops & academies a few times per week.  “This is always a popular class,” said Martha Bogart, the instructor in today’s workshop.  Many classrooms around the St. Louis area are installing interactive white boards as a new & improved method of teaching and interacting with students.  SMART has several studies that show the benefits of using interactive whiteboards.  Further research supports the increase in student learning and motivation.


Teachers, along with administrators from Lutheran North, Ladue, Jonesburg, Meramec Valley & New City, came together to learn about how to integrate this technology into the classroom.  The basics of the SMART Board were covered in this class.  All VLC classes and academies are paperless and handouts are provided in the CSD Tech PD Moodle so teachers can access 24/7.  Click here to find out when the next class will be held.  You can also check to see the VLC’s other technology courses such as Podcasting, Power Point, Moodle, Promethean Boards, Free Online Resources, Internet Safety, and more.

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