After Spring Break, we all start dreaming about summer...sleeping late, enjoying the outdoors, vacationing, checking something off our bucket list (I think it’s time to try ziplining.) I have so many plans for Summer 2016!
One of the things that we, as educators, always have to fit into our summer plans is professional development. Kristy and I are excited to offer six technology sessions this summer. We are also excited to use one of the hottest trends in learning - badges! Participants will have the opportunity in all of our sessions to apply what they learn through hands-on tasks and earn badges (or brag tags) as challenges are completed.
We definitely wanted to offer a Google session and a web resource session because those things are so dynamic. We also felt like it was important to design a session around the Chromebook and all of the things that make it unique and powerful. If you or your students use Chromebooks, this session is tailor made for you.
Below are the descriptions for the sessions that we will offer this year. All sessions will be in the Rivercrest Elementary Computer Lab. Use your shoebox account to register (http://crowleys.crsc.k12.ar.us/shoebox). These sessions are open to anyone in our co-op area, so register quickly. (Registration opens April 15.) They fill up fast!
You can click HERE for the printable version of the sessions.
Google: The Old, The New, The “Oh, Yeah”!
June 7 8:30-3:30 - Session 281789
June 15 8:30-3:30 - Session 281790
If there is one thing we know about Google applications, it’s that they are always evolving. This session will take a look at some of the tried and true features of GAFE that educators and students love, some of our favorite new updates, and the changes that have us saying…”Oh, Yeah!”.
The Chromebook Craze: What’s the fuss about?
June 8 8:30-3:30 - Session 281794
June 16 8:30-3:30 - Session 281796
Have you heard the buzz about Chromebooks and wondered what the fuss is about? Or do you have Chromebooks in your school and want to make sure you use them to their fullest potential? Whether you are already caught up in the Chromebook craze or still exploring what Chromebooks have to offer, you don’t want to miss this session. Participants will spend the day exploring the device and what makes it unique, learning the advantages of using a Chromebook and some pitfalls to avoid, and discovering the possibilities this device can bring to your classroom.
June 14 8:30-3:30 - Session 281800
June 20 8:30-3:30 - Session 281801
What is a smackdown? A smackdown is a sharing of websites, tools, or technology tricks found to be useful. What makes it fun? The person sharing is given only two minutes to convince participants that her tool is the best one for the job. Watch as the facilitators describe common classroom tasks, go toe to toe to showcase their favorite applications to complete that task, and give the participants time to explore each app and vote on their favorites.
As custom has it, we are always excited to have older students work with younger ones to impart knowledge that can only be gained with age and experience. Mrs. Sarah Imler, second grade math teacher, recently flipped this idea on its head by having her little students teach the big students.
Mrs. Imler’s students are learning math through gamification. Gamification is basically using the motivational parts of games, such as points, rewards, and ranking, in a non-game situation. It is all about increasing engagement and motivating students to learn. She introduced the web based math game Prodigy to her second graders and it was a hit. Prodigy is a role playing game that gamifies the many math skills needed to be successful in first through eighth grade - and the magic word is free! Students are motivated to practice math skills on their levels. Teachers are provided with real-time reporting along with built in formative, diagnostic and summative assessment. Teachers will also appreciate the personalized approach in which Prodigy evaluates students to begin closing gaps in understanding and move them toward deeper understanding. If students are working on specific skills during class, teachers can also choose to assign those skills to reinforce the teaching.
Mrs. Imler loved the way her students interacted with the game based program and wanted to share with other classrooms. Mrs. Griffin invited the second graders to teach her fifth graders how to get started with Prodigy. The second grade students helped the older students set up accounts, work through problem solving, and set out on quests on Prodigy Island. Prodigies answered questions and battled monsters along with the help of their pets. The littles not only shared their knowledge with the bigs, but proved that it isn’t necessary to know it all - just be willing to share your experience and excitement.
Dana Lane is a Technology Coordinator, and Kristy Graham is an Instructional Technology Specialist - both at Rivercrest School District. They are passionate about technology and learning and enjoy sharing this passion with teachers and students.