Thursday, February 21, 2019

EdTech PD- A Year in Review

In the 2017-2018 school year, EdTech offered 65 different professional learning opportunities that over
1000 educators took advantage of. These opportunities support CO state standards and BVSD Teacher effectiveness standards.

High-quality PD is vital to the success of our students in future endeavors post-high school. Whether that
be college, career or vocational training, our goal is to ensure BVSD students are prepared
for the world economy they will enter. Our educators are dedicated to learning the latest innovative
teaching strategies and besides PD and workshops, over 4000 BVSD employees checked out
Professional Learning Books and Audiobooks from the BVSD PL OverDrive library which contains
200+ PL titles. The continued desire for Professional Learning from BVSD educators is inspiring and
EdTech will continue to create and offer Face to Face, Blended, and Online Professional Learning
opportunities for those who want to learn. Currently, we are developing a series of PD modules that are
a single topic, brief, and connected to other modules to provide anywhere, anytime PD. These will be ready Summer, 2019.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Teacher Spotlight: Creating Interactive Presentations with Holly Hughes

Holly Hughes, a 1st-3rd grade teacher at Community Montessori, received a class set of Makey Makey devices through the Jared Polis Foundation Technology Grant (currently on hiatus). Excited by the potential new ways to engage students and help them develop future ready skills, she began brainstorming project ideas. Makey Makey allows students to learn about circuits through an infinite number of projects, limited only by one’s creativity. The use of these tools naturally lent itself to the circuitry unit Holly’s students were beginning.

Makey Makey shines when applying curriculum standards and integrating other tech tools, so the scope of her project plan quickly evolved to do just that. Holly wanted her students to apply their knowledge of circuitry to what they’ve learned about geographical features by making interactive presentations.

This project was ultimately successful due to Holly’s thoughtful grouping of students, parent support, and well-paced scaffolding. Holly led a series of lessons and activities to develop the mindset and skills students needed to complete this project. Topics covered during these lessons included:
  • Reviewing how open and closed circuits behave differently 
  • Learning basic coding skills in Scratch to create actions that the buttons would trigger (voice recording playback)
  • How to properly apply copper tape, aluminum foil, and electrical tape on a physical poster to create different circuits. Foam buttons closed the circuits when pressed. 
  • Practicing writing, reading, and oracy skills by recording their content into Scratch
  • Connecting wires to the Makey Makey and the physical buttons
This project highlighted how technology can support the development of many different skills simultaneously. In addition to promoting creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking, multiple ISTE standards for students were reflected (see below). Through the use of these digital tools, students were able to grow as Knowledge Constructors and Computational Thinkers.  

If you are interested in experimenting with Makey Makey, be sure to look into the Mobile Maker Kits we have available to borrow. If it’s been a while since you’ve used Scratch, don’t miss their latest 3.0 update. And as always, your school’s Ed Tech Specialist is available to help support!

ISTE Standards
Student 3c: Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
Student 5d: Students understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.
Educator 1a: Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
Educator 5b: Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
2020 Colorado Academic Standards
Reading, Writing, & Communicating Std. 1:  Oral Expression and Listening - Participate cooperatively in group activities
Science Std. 1: Physical Science - Show that electricity in circuits requires a complete loop through which current can pass