Thursday, July 25, 2013

Last Year of Sakai

The 2013-2014 will be the last year using Sakai as a LMS for our district.  With so many alternatives out now (the major one being Edmodo) the district feels now is a good time to begin the phase-out of Sakai.  Services will cease on 30 June 2014.

ePortfolios will begin moving to the Google Drive platform with a major push from the Computer teachers and assistants.

There will be workshops offered in your buildings this year to help you with your transition away from Sakai and an introduction to alternative platforms (Google, Edmodo, etc.) but now is a good time to begin thinking about where you can migrate your Sakai data and begin planning for the new year.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

10 Tools Every Teacher Should Master This Summer

Reposted from NHEOT:

According to Common Sense Media, 95% of teachers agree that using technology increases student engagement and 92% of teachers want to add more technology to their classroom.
Getting Smart would like to share 10 great tools that we were introduced to there and the reasons they are so worth taking the time to master this summer. These are the tools that will transform your classroom in the fall because you will notice the definite threads that run throughout all these applications… real-time, collaborate and creative! Those words together are sure to build a lot of excitement around exactly how educational technology is developing and transforming what school looks like!
  1. LiveSlide
  2. Scoot and Doodle
  3. Biblionasium
  4. Ujam “Make Your Music”
  5. Teachley
  6. Sanderling
  7. Graphite
  8. CyberWise
  9. Wevideo
  10. Klikaklu

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Google Apps + YouTube

I hope your summer is going well!

A friendly reminder from the IT Department and your Tech Leaders - all students 1-8 will have Google Apps for Education (GAFE - Gmail / Google Drive / etc.) accounts come start of the new year.  Hopefully you are ready to take full advantage of this in the fall.  If you're not using it at home already, we highly recommend you start playing with it.  We will have a couple refresher courses at the start of the year for those that need it once you're settled back into the classroom.  For a refresher on your own this summer, check out the very useful Google Apps Learning Center.  Everything you want to know about using GAFE effectively (check out their video section too).

Also, with high-speed internet added to your buildings this summer, YouTube has also been opened up district-wide.  It is recommended that you use the Chrome web-browser with the Cleanr extension enabled (we have it enabled by default). Cleanr strips away comments and ads from the videos you view in the classroom.  As you know, the comments on YouTube can get, shall we say, colorful.

If you plan to use YouTube in the classroom this fall, I strongly encourage you to read this wonderful article: The Teacher's Guide to Using YouTube in the Classroom and this article on Guiding Principles on weebly.  It's a little dated, but the material in there is still relevant.

Please note:  YouTube is open to all, including your students for research.  Please be aware of this while in the labs (open / classroom) or with the laptops and iPads in the classroom.  Streaming video is still a resource hog.  Keep in mind that YouTube is a form of Social Media.  There are new sections to the AUP which you and students will be signing in the fall to address the new acceptance of Social Media in the district (YouTube, Twitter, etc).