Skip to content

The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: November 2011

We wanted to share with you that the deadline to submit applications for an Acellus Special Education Matching Grant before the close of this year’s funding is December 31st, 2011.

What is Acellus? It is a system designed to help students master any course of instruction– the basic premise of Acellus is to turn the learning process into a science, and by so doing, improve the overall effectiveness of the learning process. To learn about Acellus for Special Education, click here.

Grant applications will also be considered for Acellus Learning Labs with laptops and security cart included (laptops come locked down & with software pre-installed). The application can be found online.

Need more information?
Contact Julianna Habing
Acellus Coordinator
(816) 220-0300

Ashley Deckelman and Amy Johnson are Technology Integration Specialists in the Parkway School District in St. Louis, Missouri. The TIS department provides instructional and technological leadership to administrators, faculty and staff, facilitates the development of teaching practices in the classroom using technology as an instructional tool and serves as a resource for curriculum coordinators and teachers to help facilitate the integration of technology into the curriculum. As Premium New Links members, Parkway has access to Whirlidurb videoconferences at no additional cost! Here, Ashley and Amy share their experiences videoconferencing this year.

So far, Parkway School District has participated in three different videoconference programs through Whirlidurb, with another one scheduled in December.  Overall, these videoconferences have been very beneficial to student learning due to the preparatory activities, the opportunity to interact with classes around the country, and the real life connections students are able to make.

Two of the conferences have been the Book Blitz program with a kindergarten class at Green Trails and a first grade class at Shenandoah Valley Elementary.  This style of program features a read aloud and a writing component.  The students began the conference by brainstorming some ideas about what Thanksgiving means to them.  Then students interacted with the Book Blitz host, as well as two other classes that were located throughout the country.   It was a great learning opportunity and provided different perspectives from kids living in different regions.

Another type of conference is the Community Helpers program on meteorologists.  The focus of this conference was on how community helpers keep us safe.  In this case, the first grade classes at Hanna Woods Elementary had just completed a weather unit in science.   The students were able to ask authentic questions of an expert in the field as a culminating activity.  At times the meteorologist asked questions of the participating classes which allowed them to transfer knowledge.

Kindergarten classes at Hanna Woods Elementary participated in another type of program, Show and Share.  This program focused on living and nonliving things.  Each class had to bring items to the conference that they could describe so other classes could infer if the object was living or nonliving.  This reinforced vocabulary skills as well as letters and sounds.

We have found these videoconferences to be well organized learning opportunities for 21st century learners.  Learning extends beyond the walls of a classroom with connections made across the country.   We would like to thank CSD and New Links for providing Parkway School District with these wonderful opportunities.

Tags: , , , , ,

CLASS: Discovery Education streaming
January 9  8:30am-3:30pm; free to to CSD/CSG Members; $189 non-members

CSD offers DE streaming training on the second Monday of every other month during the school year for FREE. Plan to attend this full day of learning and walk away saying, “WOW!”  Through your subscription to DE streaming, you receive on-demand streaming and downloading of videos for your classroom, lesson plans, quizzes, images, sound effects, encyclopedia articles, and more! Using Discovery Education streaming, students are engaged in their learning experiences, and teachers have the ability to create standards-based lessons, assignments, quizzes, and writing prompts online. Come learn the user-friendly features including the My DE page and drag & drop features in My Content. Find out about the curriculum focused features including the Ready Zone, STEM Connect and more! Learn how the Interactive Atlas and the Student Center can engage 21st century learners. CSD offers this free training every other month on the second Monday of the month during the school year from 8:30am-3:30pm.  *Free to those schools that purchase DE streaming subscriptions through CSD and to CSD/CSG Members; $189 non-members.

WEBINAR: Digital Citizenship: Being Aware of Your Digital Footprint
January 18   4-5 pm
Do you know what type of digital footprint you are creating?  Anyone using the web or a mobile device leaves a digital footprint. Being a Digital Citizen means learning how to properly use the Internet and other technology resources. In this webinar we will discuss how to be safe in the digital world.

WEBINAR: Midwest Education Technology Conference Q & A
January 25   4-5 pm
If you are going to METC, participate in this webinar and learn how to make the most of your conference experience. Discover how to find the best sessions to meet your needs using the METC conference planner. Learn about networking opportunities in the Connections Lounge and Exhibit Hall, plus, after hours tweet-ups.  Leave this webinar feeling more confident to plan and organize your personalized day of learning.

CLASS: Digital Citizenship: Being Aware of Your Digital Footprint
January 26   8:30am-3:30pm; $149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(One Grad. Credit Available)

Do you know what type of digital footprint you are creating?  Anyone using the web or a mobile device leaves a digital footprint. We teach our children how to be safe within the physical community, but what about norms for appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to use of technology?  Class time will include discussion through the digital lenses of: Access ~ Commerce ~ Communication ~ Literacy ~ Etiquette ~ Law ~ Rights & Responsibilities ~ Health & Wellness ~ Security.  Being a Digital Citizen means learning how to properly use the Internet and other technology resources. In order to be successful and safe, today’s students must know how to find, evaluate and utilize electronic resources.

CONFERENCE: Free Discovery Education Network (DEN) Saturday Conferences
SciCon DEN Conference January 28  7:30am – 2:30pm; free
Attend this free, Discovery Educator Network Virtual Conference. Each Virtual Conference will feature presentations from DEN gurus and other nationally known speakers. These informative sessions will cover a variety of relevant topics, such as differentiating learning with digital content and integrating new Web 2.0 tools into instruction. Those attending in-person gatherings will participate in the online presentations, as well as breakout sessions presented by local STAR Discovery Educators.  DEN SciCon is an online conference focused on providing participants with some of the most effective strategies for transforming their Science classes through the meaningful and effective integration of digital media content.

Registration information can be found here.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Super Early Bird registration rate for the Midwest Education Technology Conference has been extended to December 16th! You have the chance to attend all three days of the annual conference for less than $400.

Precons include, but are not limited to:
• SMART NOTEBOOK DIY: Reface, Remodel, Rebuild
• Stop Motion Video in the Elementary and Secondary Classroom
• Differentiate! Connect! Transform!: Tools for Collaboration and Creation
Go from Good to GREAT: Google for Leaders

The 2012 conference strands are Accountability/Assessment, Differentiated Instruction, Digital Creation, Virtual Teaching & Learning, Innovative Instruction & Engaged Learning, Leadership & Professional Learning, Library & Media Literacy, Mobile Learning, and Technical Infrastructure & Support.

For more information on METC, a program of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, visit METCconference.org.

Tags: , , ,

We’re thankful this week to be able to announce the return of author James Otis Thach to Cooperating School Districts for two videoconferences this December! James is a St. Louis native and the author of A Child’s Guide to Common Household Monsters, The Tickle Monster is Coming and his latest, The Seal Pup. James was raised in Clayton and attended Glenridge Elementary.

This free, one hour videoconference is for elementary students. James Otis Thach will read from his book, The Seal Pup.  The story follows the quest of a lone seal, trying to reunite with his herd.  James will also talk about the true story than inspired the book, and about the long journey of making a book.  He will also share related videos, and invite the kids to use their research and library skills to find the documentary the book is based upon.

There is limited space available for these multipoint, interactive videoconferences, so please reserve your classroom’s spot early. There is a limit of 35 students per site; we are accepting four interactive sites per videoconference.  Available times on Tuesday, December 20th include:

• 9 am CST for kindergarten, first and second grade classes
• 10:30 am CST for third, fourth and fifth grade classes

Participating schools also receive a free copy of The Seal Pup, signed by James. Happy Holidays!

Tags: , , , , ,

Cooperating School Districts’ new program, District’s-Choice, is not an online school, but instead a menu of courses that districts can choose from to best meet the learning needs of all students. Classes can either be taught by Missouri certified online teachers who are employed by one of our course vendors, or they can be supervised by your district’s teachers who receive facilitator/teacher training. In addition, District’s-Choice offers these online learning courses at the lowest prices in the state of Missouri. Our current partner is e2020, and we’re in the process of adding even more curriculum options. You can learn more about District’s-Choice on December 7 at a Lunch & Learn at Cooperating School Districts. We’ve also added an FAQ to the CSD website about the program; we encourage you to check it out. Still have questions? Contact Ruth Litman-Block at rlblock@csd.org.

Tags: , , ,

The Midwest Education Technology Conference 2012 Keynote on Wednesday, February 15th is Adam Bellow on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future.

Mr. Bellow is the founder of eduTecher, a free web resource for teachers, students, and parents that finds and explains how to use free web tools in the classroom. He currently works as the Director of Educational Technology for The College Board Schools and has previous experience as Technology Integration Specialist as well as a High School English Teacher. Recently named Outstanding Young Educator of the Year by ISTE, Mr. Bellow has presented at conferences across the country and all around the world speaking about how to reform education with the successful infusion of technology as well as the merit of free web based tools. You can check out Mr. Bellow’s site at eduTecher.net or download the free mobile applications.

Besides his keynote address on the 15th, Mr. Bellow also presents the following sessions during METC:

Web Tools That Will Make Your Classroom Rock!
There are literally thousands of free web tools out there- but which ones are right for you? Come to a fun session that explores some of the best tools for students and teachers to use. You’ll learn and laugh as you discover new tools that will enhance your classroom experience for both of you and your students. Tech Level: Beginner, Intermediate

There’s an App for That! The Best iOS Apps for Education
Come and explore some excellent iOS apps for all aspects of school life. You’re sure to learn some great new apps as well as explore some of the excellent ones you might have missed. This session is fun and fast paced as we explore many of the App Store’s finest educational offerings. The session will end with those in the audience invited to get up and share some of their own favorites. Tech Level: Beginner, Intermediate

METC is a program of the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

Tags: , , , ,

The Midwest Education Technology Conference 2012 Keynote on Tuesday, February 14th is Dr. David Thornburg on Can You Hear Me Now: The Powerful Rise of Mobile Learning.

Dr. Thornburg has been active in the world of technology since the early 1970′s when, at Xerox PARC, he invented  user interface tools still in use today. His focus on educational technology became full-time in the 80′s and he has written hundreds of articles and numerous books on the potential for emerging technologies to transform education. His current focus on alternatives to traditional classrooms, and the explosive rise of mobile learning tools, continues a journey he has been on for decades. Dr. Thornburg presents at numerous conferences throughout the world each year, and helps educators and districts through his consulting practice. He splits his residence between the US and Brazil.

Besides his keynote address on the 14th, Dr. Thornburg also presents the following sessions during METC:

Education on the Holodeck: Learning in a Theater Without Audiences
For too many children, school is disliked. Part of the problem comes from the physical structure of classrooms with teachers facing the front of the room with the teacher being the performer on stage. This presentation describes a project that breaks this mold, engages students, advances their curricular knowledge, and does all this in a new environment called the Educational Holodeck. With special computer installations, this empty white room can be transformed into a space ship, or a time machine, or a microscopic vessel taking students through the human body, or become just about anything else you can imagine. During the student-controlled voyage, they encounter challenges that have to be addressed  challenges that reflect those that might present themselves during a real voyage! The Holodeck becomes a theater without audiences; a fully immersive and interactive space where learning is supported in new ways. It is an example of an “epistemic game,” in that participants are engaged in the content, skills, identity, values and thinking styles of people working in the topic area of the mission. This presentation shows the problems with normal classrooms, describes the Educational Holodeck, places it in the context of modern educational theory, and illustrates all of this with information about the first one in the world built in Recife, Brazil. Tech Level: Intermediate, Advanced

Seeing Tomorrow, Today: How to Find Emerging and Future Technologies
Have you ever made a trendy technology purchase, only to see your investment end up in the dustbin a year later? Anyone who uses or purchases modern technologies wants to be sure that the tools they have are as up to date as possible. Yet, no matter how hard we try, it seems that last year’s tools are headed for the storage closet before we know it. If only we could anticipate the next big thing, we could make better technology decisions. Far from the arcane art of gazing into crystal balls, today’s futurists use a variety of approaches to see if a new device or capability is a fad or a long-term trend. This dynamic presentation shows a variety of lenses through which technologies can be seen with the goal of identifying those that not only meet today’s needs, but have the power to last. Each of the strategies described is illustrated with examples of current technologies, some of which may change the ways we learn and work. Examples aside, this session is not a laundry list of modern tools, but a description of proven strategies that let you craft your own visions of the future visions that will make differences in the lives of those with whom you work. The presenter, who has been called the country’s premiere educational technology futurist, has spent a vibrant career both as a technology inventor, and proponent for the effective use of technology in education. His insights inform leaders in education and corporations from small start-up companies to members of the Fortune 500. Hone your skills as a futurist, and watch an exciting world unfold before your eyes! Tech Level: Intermediate, Advanced

METC is a program of the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis.

Tags: , , , ,

These upcoming workshops are specifically targeted for school support staff;  learn new skills or spice up your existing skills in new ways.  Have fun while learning practical applications and finding new, free tools to make your job easier.

MS Excel 101   Dec. 9   8:30-11:30am
$75 CSD member; $89 non-member
Don’t know anything about Excel?  This training is for you! Learn the basics of creating a spreadsheet, making a chart from your data, formatting a spreadsheet and printing all or parts of it. Walk away with the basic skills you need to create spreadsheets to use in practical ways.

Intermediate Excel Tips & Tricks   Dec. 9   12:30-3:30pm
$75 CSD member; $89 non-member
Learn fun tips and tricks to use with spreadsheets.  Find out how to format cells, merge cells, create pictographs and more!

To register, click here!

Tags: ,

The Virtual Learning Center updated & streamlined membership in our nationally recognized, award-winning distance learning program this year. The revamped membership tiers for News Links are available by clicking on the icon below. You will notice this is a flat annual fee depending on which tier you select, unlike in previous years where we had a school or district pay by the number of videoconferencing units they used. And even though 2011 is wrapping up, it is not too late to sign up for this school year!

We now have four subscription options for districts to select from:

• Skype Only is for any size school/district––Annual Fee $250
• Basic
is for school/district under 2,500 students––Annual Fee $500
• Standard
is for any size school/district––Annual Fee $1,650
• Premium
is for any size school/district––Annual Fee $3,000

In the last couple weeks alone, we’ve made several connections over videoconference or Skype with the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis, authors Amy E. Sklansky and Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, and Whirlidurb.

There are so many great opportunities for your students using distance learning technologies! For more information about New Links and how your school or district can become a member, contact Program Coordinator Rebecca Morrison at 314-692-1274 or rmorrison@csd.org.

Tags: , , ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,273 other followers