Monday, September 29, 2014

Andover Innovation & Instructional Technology Update Week Of September 22-26 2014 - Google Sites & Classroom -1:1 Initiative

This past week I spent a number of appointments with teachers introducing them to the benefits of Google Classroom,Google Sites and web based google documents and calendars. As I introduce the interface of Google Classroom to teachers it is amazing how this platform will improve the communication and sharing of assignments between students and teachers. This video from Google helps explain this interface.

Helping to assist teachers in adopting Google sites has also been relatively seamless. Teachers quickly choose to create a site within their login then choose a template and start choosing their page names. This is by far one of these easiest tools to quickly get teachers on board with organizing their resources for the classroom.

In the photo above Spanish Teacher Tom Powers investigates transferring his classroom to Google Classroom. We had the opportunity to discuss the pro's and cons. Tom likes the ability to add assignments seamlessly but would like a better way to share his homework postings.

I worked with Health Teacher Jackie Salvensen to upload a number of her Word documents into Google Drive. The upload took longer than we expected so we made a follow up appointment to complete the process. Completing this process will enable her to back up her documents and also to share them more easily as links to others.

I was also able to have a follow up appointment with Adriana Gonzalez to help her add a homework calendar using Google to her Blogger Blog. Adriana has worked hard to get her blog up and running to share resources and documents.

Web Design Teacher Michael Messina shared with his students the The Creative Process In 10 Steps with his class. This is a video he introduced to help students be inspired as they embark on the concept development stage of their web design process.

This past week brings together a number of components related to educational technology initiatives in the Andover Public Schools. Andover teachers are at a crossroads in which hopefully in a short number of months teachers in the 8th grades will have classrooms in which all students will have their own Macbook Air computer.

On Monday night(9/30) the parents of these students will have the opportunity to weigh in on their opinions and perspectives on this initiative. The planning and professional development strategies for teachers related to this goal are also a huge responsibility becuase we need to support the learning of the students as well as the teachers adaptation to having the consistent access to devices with their curriculum.

The Mac platform enables a high level of scalability for both the teachers and the learning curve for the students. It also makes the process of protecting the city’s network easier. In my opinion the district is ready for this shift. We are ready to embrace the wonderful new challenges to support teachers and embrace the new engaged learning environment this will create for students.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School-Week Of September 2-5 2014

The startup of the Andover Innovation Lab/Help Desk was great as we have 7 students beginning projects. The new format at the help desk will have students creating webcasts. They are also going to be blogging soon about their projects and I look forward to reading about their learning process and projects. Students are ramped up to participate in ways to help assist teachers with the use of technology in their classrooms.

The District’s Tech Con has once again started the year with a bang and I had the great opportunity to present on a variety of Project Based Learning Technology Tools for the classroom and also presented on the Integration Of Social Media Into Our School District with Director Of Digital Learning Joanne Najarian. I have included the links to our presentations below.

New photo added to gallery

I have had many opportunities to discuss the implementation of the Lego Mindstorm Kits into the Middle School science curriculum with Steve Sanborn the Program Coordinator for the Science/Engineering Department in Andover. Its great to see the enthusiasm he has for this program and the opportunities this program will present for the integration of coding,engineering and robotics into his program.
New photo added to gallery

It was rewarding this week to reconnect with the teachers about technology and see where their goals are at for the year. I had the opportunity to work with Louise Cummings and her team in the Transitions Program at the high school to integrate Google Calendar across their computers so they could manage the support for different students needs.  

On additional professional levels I just completed the development of a curriculum for a course in “Web Application Development” for Bunker Hill Community College. This course includes to ebooks which delve into the context of web applications in the modern world of web development as well as a technical project which allows students to work their way through a project through the course. I am proud to complete the development of this course and look forward to its implementation.

So we have taken off with a huge push and plan on completing so many new technology projects this year! Looking forward to a great year of collaboration,sharing and learning with the fine teachers,administration and staff of the Andover Public Schools

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School Week Of August 25-28 2014

Over the course of the summer I had d the opportunity to teach ,develop new curriculum and view the transformation of a variety of classroom and library spaces for the Andover Public Schools Digital Learning Department.

Summer Work
I taught a Web Design & Development course at Minuteman High School for 3 weeks which enabled me to review and research new tools for the new Web Development course  which is going to be rolled out this fall at Andover High School. The Web Design & Development course is one of 3 new courses which in include Game Development and Exploring Computer Science course. These courses are part of the newly formed Digital Learning Department at Andover High School.

As preparation for the new Exploring Computer Science course I participated in a great  training at Google in August with the new Digital Learning Teacher Michael Messina. We were
not only able to witness the “Google “ work experience but also got great training in making computer science more equitable for a wide range of students. The experience at Google was fantastic and getting to know many of the other teachers participating in this opportunity was extremely rewarding.

Early in the summer I was able to use mobile application development curriculum that I had been developing with a grant with the National Science Foundation and Bunkerhill Community College. The course uses video screencasted tutorials and sequenced code lessons to enable students to create an Android Mobile Application. This was a rewarding opportunity to begin teaching this curriculum  which I had been  developing with a former student of mine over the past year.

Teacher Successes 2013-2014
I was also able to reflect on the success of the teachhers with technology at Andover High School. So many teachers challenged themselves with adopting Google Docs and so many new web 2.0 tools to enhance their teaching. The students who participated in the first year of the Andover Innovation Lab produced so many amazing projects and experiences. Moving forward I have created a new website to showcase their writing and projects We are excited to be scheduled to present at the Masscue conference in October and be a part of their student showcase and help desk.

In addition to the new website we plan on having a theme introduced each year for students to investigate.  This year we are embracing the theme of creative coding. Students can research open source programming languages to create graphics. Students will have the option to pursue this as opposed to their own tech study. Additional new initiatives for the help desk this year includes a  plan to integrate group webcasts on instructional technolog topics. We want to continually bridge the gap between students skills and application of technolgoy and the teacher’s use in the classroom.

Prototype Classrooms
At the close of the last school year an opportunity arose to update 3 classrooms at Andover High School as well as the Media Center with 21st century learning furniture. During the month of August furniture was dilligently put together and represent three prototype classrooms. The classrooms are aimed to be models of furniture which supports learning with technology and also making classrooms more adaptable and flexible to group learning.

In two English classrooms and one math classroom students have some pretty cool new desks and tables. The library also has new tables and chairs are on the way to have a new 21st century feel to the space. Moving forward this library space will shift from a static space to one in which it will be easier for students to use their laptops and other computing devices to research,communicate and collaborate. We look forward to seeing this space transform.