Monday, April 17, 2017

Guest Blog: TEDTalks in the Elementary Classroom

We are excited to share the following guest blog with you from 5th grade students in Boulder Valley School District sharing their TEDTalk journey! Be inspired by their enthusiasm, engagement and passion for learning! Thank you to Kelly Marcus for sharing this work with us.

--The BVSD Ed Tech Team

Check out the examples below--then read the incredible blog from our 5th grade students!
Anne Frank

By: Addison, Elina, Roxy, and Yvette

... TED Talk | by urban_data
       We are in 5th grade in Boulder Valley School District. We use chromebooks everyday for writing, reading, science, math, well, it’s throughout our entire day. About 90% of our work is done with our dear friend, Google.  Recently, we did Ted Talks, which were based on our research reports. We were all very excited when it was time to begin the process of making our Ted Talks.

The first step to this process was choosing what topic we wanted to research. It took many days to determine what was Ted Talk worthy. Then, we started to do a thorough research on the topic of choice. We found interesting facts and put them into categories. For example, Roxy did a piece about pangolins, Addi did a project about Anne Frank, Elina did one about koalas, and I did a piece about snowy owls. Next, we learned how to organize our notes into a five paragraph essay.     

After our class finished writing the choice research project, our teachers introduced Ted Talks to the class. To get it started, we watched a few Ted talks on online. We brainstormed what good TED Talk look and sound like. At that point, we were ready to take on the world of TED. We used notecards to organize our thoughts and information. We used Each notecard modeled one of our paragraphs. Countless times we heard, ”Make sure that you are not writing paragraphs on the notecards but notes.” Writing key points will help you have a conversation with your audience. Making eye contact, speaking loud enough, and making sure that your information make sense is key to making a great TED talk. Once we finished writing key facts down on the notecards we needed to practice. One student in our class practiced over 30 times. After practicing, we were ready for a live audience. This is where our good friend Google joined us. We did a Google Hangout with Mr.Lehmans 3rd grade class. He stated making TED talks requires confidence. Boy, it sure does.

There was a great amount of work that went into making these TED Talks. Isabelle in Mrs. Marcus’s 5th grade class says, “At first it was a little nerve-racking, but when is was said and done, it was so much fun! ” It took about 4-5 weeks to finish the whole project and it was all a lot of pleasure and we hope to do something like it again!

Open ...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

IT Open House

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We had over 45 BVSD employees join us at IT Open House on February 28th, 2017. This event included opportunities to meet and interact with the many teams in IT that serve the students and staff of BVSD.
Participants received a gameboard to help them navigate through the open house, and upon completion, be eligible for some pretty great prizes! You can watch the raffle winners announcement!

Through this event, participants experienced
  • a meet & greet with the Service Desk & Customer Support Technician teams
  • a presentation and learning experience with VizLab and the new data warehouse
  • hands-on exploration of tools available through school technology tools program and upcoming maker kits
  • sharing feedback with the student information systems team (Infinite Campus, custom apps, etc.)
  • learning about their digital footprint as an educator and newly updated school websites with the web team
  • and more!

You can check out some pictures and additional reactions to this event below! IT is hoping to host another Open House in the Winter of 2018.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Summer Learnin' Part One

If you are a planner, you may already be checking your calendar for summer conferences and professional development. If you are more spontaneous, you can always bookmark this as a resource to use in June when you have a moment to catch your breath! Either way, this post will highlight how to have fun learning in your own backyard and/or on your personal device of choice!

You do not have to travel far for the first opportunity coming in June! Innovate@BVSD is coming back to Monarch High School June 7 & 8. Join educators from around the area to explore digital tools, resources, lessons, and innovative furniture designs that can help us create future-ready learning environments that will positively impact our learning communities!
This year’s Innovate will feature a Pop-up Maker Expo, an opportunity for Innovate@BVSD attendees to connect with members of the Maker community and learn about the resources they provide to help students tinker, play, explore, create, and make.

The Pop-up Maker Expo will be open to students and parents so they can connect with maker communities that offer makerspaces, tools, expertise, classes, and workshops, or may belong to a maker community and want to share their making stories.

Only a little further west, in Keystone, is our Colorado-based conference InnEdCO June 12-15. The organization, Innovative Education Colorado (InnEdCO), is back hosting a leadership academy, Google in Education learning academy and conference focusing on the increasing role technology plays in education. Join educators from all corners of Colorado and beyond for energetic learning and relationship-building! There will also be 24 presentations from BVSD educators!  

If travel is more your style, then this conference offers all of the above with a global reach. The International Society of Education (ISTE) is hosting their annual conference in San Antonio June 25-28. With over 1,000 sessions and 15,000 educators, this conference brings like-minded educators together from all over the world.

Why spend the money, time, and energy traveling to these conferences IRL (in real life)? The benefits can be best described in some of our favorite blog posts such as ISTE Reflection Guest Blog from Tracy Stegall, Principal @Aspen Creek K8, ISTE2016: Our Recap & Experiences and 12 Reasons You Should Attend Conferences.

If you are unable to attend conferences this summer, no worries! Your learning can continue as well! Come back to this blog in April for Summer Learnin' Part Two with how to use Twitter, OverDrive, and more for various learning opportunities.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

21st Century Cohort 2.0 Graduates

In 2012, the BVSD Ed Tech team facilitated the first 21st Century Cohort for secondary teachers. After a successful launch year, the second cohort began with elementary teachers from across the district. In November of 2013, over 25 teachers and teacher-librarians committed to three years of professional development, community building, and collaborative learning. Last month, they celebrated this three-year journey at the Cohort 2.0 Graduation ceremony.

Every school that participated in Cohort 2.0 was asked to create a digital story to share their experience as well as show evidence of personal and student growth. These stories became powerful reflections from this professional learning community and their time in the cohort.

When teachers and teacher-librarians were asked what is one word that would describe their experience over three years in the 21st Century Cohort, the responses included:
  • Growth
  • Collaboration
  • Mindful
  • Overwhelming...turning into exciting

When they were asked to reflect on how being in the cohort affected their students, common themes were a culture of risk taking, students feeling empowered to teach other students and teachers in the building, and watching students that struggle having positive experiences in school now with the new ideas and tools.

Katherine Kross, teacher at Lafayette elementary, was able to articulate what this has meant to her and her classroom.
“When I came into this cohort I had very little tech experience and so not only have I gained confidence in my technology skills, I really valued learning that technology is an important tool for my kids. And like someone else said, you just kind of have an idea for what you want to do and give it to the kids and off they go with it.”

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It was a great honor to collaborate with this talented group of leaders and risk-takers over three years. We wish them the best in their classrooms and school buildings as they continue to learn, reflect, and share.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ed Tech & Innovation Professional Development

The instructional shifts that teachers and leaders are making as BVSD builds innovative learning spaces and schools are complex and require time and learning experiences that model what educators aspire to see implemented in their classrooms and schools. Innovation & Ed Tech workshops have supported innovative teaching and learning practices as described in The Success Effect, BVSD’s Innovation Guiding Principles and the ISTE Standards for Students and Teachers, and with the upcoming Innovate@BVSD (June 7th & 8th), there will be even more opportunities for teachers and leaders around the district to explore, learn and grow together.

These teams provide direct support to:
These teams provided 95 different professional learning opportunities for teachers and leaders in 2015-16. Check out their year in review! The events offered district-wide opportunities that were open to any educator as well as professional learning opportunities that were designed and delivered to meet specific needs of a school or group of learner cohorts.

These teams consistently align their work to the broader work of The Success Effect by decreasing the digital divide through providing digital resources to our staff and students. 84% of our leaders have connected their learning to the district vision of “graduating successful, curious, lifelong learners!”

Both Ed Tech and Innovation are making every attempt possible to provide an equitable distribution of opportunities for all professional groups.

These teams also believe strongly in empowering teachers who are pioneering challenging, engaging and meaningful learning opportunities in BVSD. Almost all full day district training events were facilitated by teacher leaders in partnership with the Ed Tech and Innovation teams.

Specific examples include;

This work in BVSD places these teams in leadership roles for peer districts. Two of the largest professional development events (Google Apps for Education Summit and Innovate@BVSD) were attended by educators from all over the Front Range.

Survey responses show the excitement that is generated in PD sessions specifically with the direction that the district is heading with embracing future ready learning practices and environments.
As the 2016-2017 school year continues, these teams are looking forward to increasing opportunities that support Professional Learning by continuing to host personalized school PD as well as provide district-wide events. Check the PD calendar for more opportunities and join in the learning, collaboration, and fun!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Digital Storytelling Course @BVSD!

Ed Tech is excited to offer Digital Storytelling, a new blended learning professional development opportunity!


Why should I sign up for this course?

If you are looking to increase student engagement, revitalize an upcoming unit, explore new digital tools and learn in a collaborative community, then this course is for you! This course is appropriate for all grades and subject areas.

Experiences will include
  • Creating an original Digital Story
  • Participating in a Digital Storytelling Technology Bootcamp
  • Exploring Publishing Practices
  • Planning for Digital Storytelling in your Own Classroom
And more!

Join us beginning Tuesday, January 17th! See registration information here--looking forward to seeing you in January!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Introducing Cohort 4.0!

It is our pleasure to introduce the newest 21st Century Cohort--Cohort 4.0!  


This year, we were able to offer this opportunity to teachers in grades K-12 and received almost 50 applications! Through our cohort selection process, including a “blind review” where names and schools were removed from applications, the team selected 31 participants for this newest group.

DSC01712.JPGOur Cohort 4.0 members began their journey December 13th with conversations around how technology can be used to enhance learning experiences for students, as well as the most valuable characteristics of teachers in taking these risks. Members also explored the possibilities they have for developing their cohort toolkit. Each member receives 25 points to use towards purchasing technology for student use in their classroom. This year, the toolkit catalog includes not only Chromebooks and iPads, but also makerspace tools such as Sphero, Gizmos & Gadgets, and more!

Cohort 4.0 members are excited about starting this journey and many shared this excitement on Twitter!

New to Cohort 4.0!
For this cohort, we are also excited to share that in addition to Ed Tech Team leadership, we have asked previous cohort members to help lead, mentor and provide professional development for this group. These teacher leaders will be vital to the development and support of Cohort 4.0.

DSC01728.JPGPlease join us in welcoming  Liz Barcheck, teacher librarian at Angevine Middle School (Cohort 1.0); Jeff Cote, 5th grade teacher at Lafayette Elementary (Cohort 2.0); and Colleen Kanemoto, 2nd grade teacher at Mesa Elementary (Cohort 2.0) as our Cohort 4.0 Teacher Leaders! You can read more about each of their own cohort journeys in their portfolios linked above.

We are excited about working together as we continue to implement the Success Effect in creating meaningful and engaging opportunities for learning for teachers and students!