Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PreK - 2nd Grade Digital Starter Kit is HERE!

ATTENTION! ATTENTION! PreK-2nd grade teachers.... were you looking for resources to integrate technology in your class? Here it is! This list is a great place to start looking. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hour of Code at Westwood High School

On Monday, December 9, the hallways at Westwood High School were filled with students coding for the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code campaign, part of Computer Science Education Week, is an effort to introduce ten million students to computer science. Several schools in Richland Two participated in the week long event.

Information Technology Instructor, Tracy Wilbur, worked with her team to plan the schoolwide event at Westwood. Students watched a short Hour of Code video to introduce them to the topic and then all students went into the hallways to code. Many of the students used a beginner tutorial from http://csedweek.org/learn to get started with coding. Students enrolled in computer science classes at Westwood circulated throughout the hallways to assist students with coding questions.

Some of the students were unsure about coding but said that it was much more fun than they had imagined. One student stated that coding allows him to be creative and make his own decisions about how a program will work. During the event, teachers talked about their experiences with coding and were excited to see all students so willing to learn a new skill. Students were excouraged to sign up for computer programming classes to become more proficient at coding.

Go to http://goo.gl/1n2Swg to see more photos from Westwood High School. View the WACHFOX news report here: http://goo.gl/Qj23lI.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Mary Allen, Summit Parkway Middle School

Recently, Kahoot! has spread across the district as a great formative assessment tool. Kahoot! is a game-based student response system. Mary Allen at Summit Parkway Middle School started using Kahoot! after it was shared but the school-level Technology and Learning Coach, Sally Wilson. 

Ms. Allen's began using the web site with her students and after posting her quiz, Cartoon Science. The co-founder of Kahoot!, Jamie Brooker emailed her letting her know the quiz was added to the feature quiz list on the site.  The quiz was used to introduce Kahoot to her classes. She wanted something fun, yet science related, to get them interested and excited about this new tool. 

Since the introduction, students have used Kahoot! to create their own quizzes about animals. They have played these quizzes as a whole group during each class period. Students get very competitive and all are actively learning and participating. Ms. Allen's newest assignment with Kahoot! is for students to give a presentation about animal adaptations. At the end of presentation, they must give the class a Kahoot! quiz.  This will ensure that all students are paying attention to the information given by their classmates.

What are students saying about Kahoot!?
Jamal says, "I like Kahoot because it is fun and challenging."
Maryah was asked why she likes using Kahoot and she said, "I like Kahoot because it is competitive and you can ask the person with the high score questions about the subject."
Zion  states, "I think Kahoot makes your reflexes faster."
"It's a fun way to take a quiz and it challenges you," says Ethan.
David says, "I like using Kahoot because it is fun and it tests your skills and checks to see if you know the information."

Every time Ms. Allen introduces new technology resources into the classroom, students get excited.  "It's fun to watch students explore with these tools and apply them to gaining science knowledge.  Kahoot allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of information in a non-threatening, risk free environment.  It's both fun and informational and a great way to informally assess student understanding."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rice Creek Elementary- Bloggers

These third grade Rice Creek dolphins in Mrs. Gaines class could not be more PROUD about their blog! Mrs. Gaines recently introduced Google Blogger to her class. Each student has their own blog and currently is using it to reflect about their learning experiences.

"My mom gets to read it and I can't wait until she leaves me a comment. I've always wanted to have my own blog and now I do!" ~Ivory-She was full of smiles as she expressed why she thought her blog was awesome! 

"I enjoy blogging because it helps me improve my keyboarding skills. 
I like when my friends read my blog posts!" ~Keon

Blogging can be a powerful tool inside and outside of the classroom:

  • Encourages student voice
  • Strengthens literacy skills
  • Motivates open reflection of learning and interests
  • Tracks growth over time (ePortfolio) 
  • Excitement for writing 
  • Experience writing for an authentic audience 
  • Practice for giving proper and effective feedback
Blogger Help

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Discovery Education in Action at CFK

Students in Mrs. Boyd's 4th Grade class dove into Discovery Education's Board Builder with Mrs. Compton, the ITS. Students searched for specific media and images to add to their board! These 4th grade students were excited to create their own unique board!

"Board Builder is fun and educational. It helps us learn easily! 
I enjoyed learning about the different features and making my board unique." ~Sam
"I enjoyed adding different media types to my board! 
I like how you can add as much content as you want!"~Emi

If you have any questions about Board Builder ask your ITS. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Orson Wells "War of the Worlds" Broadcast 75th Anniversary

Tim Childers of the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville, TN challenged his teachers today with the following and I would like to do the same with you.

"75 Years ago today Orson Wells changed radio history with his broadcast of "War of the Worlds." The technology of the day (radio) was used to creatively make an entirely unbelievable and implausible idea both believable and plausible in the minds of millions of listeners. 

Are you using this story in your lessons today? 

How are you using today's technology to transform the lives of your students?"

NPR - 75 years ago, the War of the Worlds started a panic; or did it?
Radio Lab - The War of the Worlds Take a deep dive into one of the most controversial moments in broadcasting history

i3: Digital Conversion Turns 1 Year Old

This week, i3: Digital Conversion turns a year old. Wow, what a year it's been!

Let's look at how people are reading... 
Since the inception of the i3 blog there have been 11,654 page views.
Music to My Eyes is the most viewed post with 554 views.
Not only are people in Richland Two and across the United State reading the blog but also from France, Germany, the UK, Poland and many other countries.
The blog is viewed in the Chrome Browser 41% of the time.
60% of people are reading from a Windows device and 15% are on mobile devices.

From our first blog post was announcing Richland Two as a Project Red Signature District; to learning about different apps and tips; to snapshots of how technology is being used in our classrooms the i3 blog hopes to make you inquire about technology integration, ignite your learning of technology integration, and inspires you to keep reaching for the next level of technology integration in your classroom, school, and district!

Happy Birthday, i3: Digital Conversion!

Richland Two ITS, administrators and district staff! Keep up informed about the wonderful technology integration lessons going on in the schools by submitting a Technology Spotlight!

Who should submit a Technology Spotlight? 
Administrators, the School Level Instructional Technology Specialist, or District Staff

Who can be featured in a Technology Spotlight?
Teachers, Staff persons, ITS, Administrators, District support staff - ANY Richland TWO employee dong great things with technology!
Fill out the Spotlight Form  and send MaryAnn Sansonetti-Wood a few photos or video link.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chorus and Chromebooks! - Ms. Belch, Kelly Mill Middle

Last week, I spent some time with Ms. Belch, Choral Director, at Kelly Mill Middle School. The class was listening to and singing She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways.

To help the students understand the music and how to sing the song, they discussed what they were singing and the students used Google Drive to recreate the lyrics in their own words. This was the first step in a multi-step process to have the students create a new score. Yes, the students would be creating their own original score of the song. How will they do it you ask? With the shift to Chromebooks, Ms. Belch found NoteFlight to help her students compose music. The students will us Noteflight to put in composition, lyrics, and melody new score created. The students will also be able to collaborate on the different parts of the melody online.


"Noteflight lets you write, play back and share music notation on the web.Noteflight is an easy to use, full-featured application to write, play back and share musical scores. Write sheet music using our award winning notation editor and become part of the world's best online music composition community. Share your scores to get feedback from other composers and musicians and learn from viewing and listening to their shared scores. Noteflight works with all modern web browsers and on many mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets." -Chrome Web Store

Ms. Belch challenged the students to feel the emotion of the original song/score and to create their own version. The class period was filled with singing; engagement in writing and composing; and learning proper singing technique. It made me want to be in middle school again. :)

Are you a fine arts teacher in a school using Chromebooks?  A great way to get started is to be sure you are using the Chrome browser on your computer. Be sure to check out the Chrome Webstore to see what apps are available for your students to use that might fit your needs. Also work with your school level Instructional Technology Specialists to help you plan or offer suggestions on where to get started.

Student has Noteflight and lyrics side by side to help write the music.
Ms. Belch has been the Choral teacher at Kelly Mill Middle School for eight years. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Master of Music. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

SC Midlands Summit is coming back for a 3rd year!


We are doing it again! This year we are focusing on Common Core, the 4 C's, and Innovation with technology. This is a conference you won't want to miss! 

We have a great lineup of featured speakers on hand to share their expertise with us. Our confirmed 2014 Presenters are Steve Dembo, Catlin Tucker, Ewan McIntosh, Leslie Fisher, and Tim Childers!  Check out our featured speakers page for more information.

Be sure to follow us:
twitter @scmsummit

The SC Midlands Summit is hosted by Richland School District Two. Other districts are invited to participate in our planning process and attend the Summit. We are happy to answer any questions. Please e-mail us at scmidlandssummit@gmail.comand we'll get you an answer!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Technology Spotlight's Needed

Richland TWO it's that time again! Do you have a teacher, administrator, or staff person to spotlight for doing great things with technology? 

Who should submit a Technology Spotlight? 
Administrators, the School Level Instructional Technology Specialist, or District Staff

Who can be featured in a Technology Spotlight?
Teachers, Staff persons, ITS, Administrators, District support staff - ANY Richland TWO employee dong great things with technology!

Fill out the Spotlight Form  and send MaryAnn Sansonetti-Wood a few photos or video link.

Monday, September 30, 2013

DON'T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY T for 2 - mini course - 2nd Grade Chrome-shop!

Are you a 2nd grade teacher in Richland School District TWO???? Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to incorporate Chromebooks in your classroom. The class starts THIS THURSDAY!

So you have Chromebooks in the classroom, now what? Come develop your Chromebook workshop time! Bring curriculum, ideas and brainstorm with others around the district to develop engaging workshop opportunities for your 2nd graders. You will explore 3 main topics and have time to discuss and create! You will be required to plan outside of class, implement your plan with your students and reflect.

Please bring your Chromebooks to c
You must attend all sessions to receive credit.

The class meets 10/3, 10/16, and 10/29 from 4:00-5:30 at LW Conder Elementary in the media center. Register in PDExpress today!!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

R2 Innovation Incubator

We're excited to be launching a new district initiative called R2 Innovates! Faculty and staff are encouraged to apply for our first cohort of innovators.

If you've ever had a great idea but put it aside because you weren't sure that you would have the support to make the dream a reality, this might be the place for you.

We're looking for a group of individuals or teams who can develop their ideas and put them into action for the benefit of students in Richland Two. The deadline for applications to our first cohort of innovators is October 25, 2013. Apply online at  http://r2innovates.blogspot.com/.

1TWO1 Site Visit

Richland Two welcomed 50 visitors from various states as they came to learn all about our 1TWO1 Initiative. The morning started with an overview of our district. The visitors had the opportunity to visit a high school, middle school and elementary school to see how students are integrating technology. Breakout sessions were available for the visitors to listen and learn about our district's professional development opportunities and the technical side to our initiative. The day ended with a teacher panel for the visitors to ask questions to students, teachers, and instructional technology specialists.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

TechB@rs Set up at R2 High Schools

Summer Training
In early August,two weeks before the start of the school year, over 30 students representing each of the five district high schools gathered at Spring Valley High School to receive training as the newest members of their school’s new student TechB@r. 

The TechB@r is the newest tech support for each high school run by high school students. The goal of the TechB@r according to Tami Lenker, Instructional Technology Specialist at Blythewood High school  “will allow students to develop customer service skills, leadership skills, technology skills, and a strong work ethic.”  Laura Coulter Instructional Technology Specialist at Westwood added “The purpose of our TechB@r is to create an environment where students help students. We start on Tuesday and are looking forward to a busy week with Chromebooks just rolling out. If we grow our own tech support staff, we teach our students valuable workforce skills and confidence, and we keep our ITS department sane.

Summer Training
During the training sessions students worked on team building skills lead by the school ITS’. The training portion of the day included technical training led by Tommy Carter and Charles Hucks, the district systems engineers, and customer service training with Susie Neal and Pepper Busbee.  

The students received training on the wireless network configuration, Chromebooks along with tips and tricks for windows devices. Susie Neal and Pepper Busbee worked with the students to develop and understand the importance of good customer support giving them examples of how to work with adults and students to solve problems and issues.

Even before school started these new TechB@r technicians began helping their schools with technology issues. TechBar students at Ridge View High School conducted technology sessions for parents during Open House and Orientation. At Richland Northeast, Spring Valley and Westwood High Schools, TechBar students helped the ITS’ with the rollout and distribution of Chromebooks. Blythewood High School TechBar students hit the ground running by helping their ITS work with teachers to solve technology issues as well as setting up Chromebook carts.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Do you have an idea for a T(echnology) for TWO class/workshop?

Devices are being rolled out, you are finishing the 8th day of school, and you are starting to get your grove back on how the day works. Welcome back to school. 

This year Richland Two is looking for amazing teachers/administrators to facilitate our T(echnology) for Two classes in the evenings. We are looking for teachers who would like to conduct a workshop for your peers showcasing how you are integrating technology with your content. Do you have a technology rich lesson you want to share with other teachers across the district? Is there a technology practice you have integrated in to your classroom? How are you using technology with common core implementation?

If you are interested please fill out the application below. Applications will be reviewed within 7 days of submission. Not all applications submitted will be accepted. The session date and time will be chosen at a later date.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Start your school year off with the Digital Starter Kit

Teachers you have asked for resources and places to start for projects and assignments. Well, here you have it. Last year a team of your colleagues worked with the District 1TWO1 Strategic Planning committee to create this wonderful resource. The District 1TWO1 Digital Starter Kit is here to help you design technology rich lessons.

This list is NOT a comprehensive list but a great starting point if you want to try something new. You can be assured that all of the links on this list are also OPEN and available to students. 

With this list, we have some NEW additions of sites available district wide for teachers and students. All of which can be accessed from your Google Apps Account. 

1. Voice Thread-  VoiceThread is a cloud application, so there is no software to install. The only system requirement is an up-to-date version of Adobe Flash. VoiceThread will work in any modern web browser and on almost any internet connection. Upload, share and discuss documents, presentations, images, audio files and videos. Over 50 different types of media can be used in a VoiceThread. Comment on VoiceThread slides using one of five powerful commenting options: microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload. Keep a VoiceThread private, share it with specific people, or open it up to the entire world. VoiceThread can also be accessed through the iPad app.

2. Lucid Chart - Collaborative tool to make flow charts, diagrams,mind maps, etc.  Integrates with Google Drive. Free account features: Drag and drop simplicity, Extensive shape library, Real-time collaboration. Use your Google Login to access your account.
To access VoiceThread or Lucid Chart please login to your Google Apps Account and from the black navigation bar at the top, click on More and select the application you would like to use.

3. WeVideo - Online collaborative video editing  platform.  Integrates with Google Drive. More information will be forthcoming on how to access the district license of WeVideo.

Some other sites to highlight:
1. Educlipper - Have you been looking for Pinterest for education? Well, now it is here. Educlipper allows you to create a teacher account and students can create student accounts. Pin away with educlipper!

2. Padlet - Padlet is an Internet application that allows people to express their thoughts on a common topic easily. It works like an online sheet of paper where people can put any content (e.g. images, videos, documents, text) anywhere on the page, together with anyone, from any device. It's a great way to have student brainstorm, comment, or ask questions on any given topic.

Take some time and look over this list. I assure you soon your head will be bursting with great ideas of integrating new and engaging activities in your classroom.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Mary Ellen Bequette, Lake Carolina Elementary

Chromebooks and Google Drive are a norm in 4th and 5th grade classes at Lake Carolina. Mary Ellen Bequette's fourth grade classroom is an example of how well 1TWO1 is being implemented at the school. From individualized assignments to collaborative partner and group projects, Mrs. Bequette uses Google Apps for Education as a regular part of her classroom instruction since implementing 1TWO1 with Chromebooks this school year.

Students have a variety of experiences with technology. Examples from this school year include differentiated workshop assignments in reading, collaborating on group projects with Google presentation, working as partners to write a fairy tale in a shared Google Doc, individual expository writing in Google Docs with teacher feedback and comments, adding data collected in a Google spreadsheet, using web 2.0 resources like Edmodo, Quizlet, and Socrative, and web sites such as studyjams.com for math and science concepts.

The latest assignment in Mrs. Bequette’s class is “Teach for10” which has each student choose something they want to teach their classmates within 10 minutes. They can choose the format or a combination of formats they prefer for teaching such as creating a video, Google presentation, Prezi, or Powerpoint. They can use online sources/video or make everything themselves. Each student works on planning their presentation, researching content and resources to include, and creating the final presentation. One student has video taped themselves teaching how to draw a self-portrait with images of his work in the steps as he is teaching.

The use of technology and 1TWO1 has truly made a positive change in the teaching and learning in Mrs. Bequette's classroom!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Music to your eyes at Dent Middle School

So what do you do at the end of the school year after all testing is done to keep your students engaged in learning? Ms. Huff, a seventh grade TLC Science teacher, and Ms. Sawyer, a seventh grade TLC social studies teacher, are collaborating on an end-of year music video review project. Students are working in collaborative groups to create a music video based on concepts learned throughout the year. The two classes are allowed to choose any topic they learned this year. Mrs. Huff and Ms. Sawyer said the groups picked evenly from science and social studies concepts. The only stipulation for choosing their topic is once it has been chosen another group cannot pick the same topic. Students write appropriate lyrics to accompany a karaoke track of a popular song. Then the soundtrack is then combined with a video created by the students using original and stock images in Movie Maker or other video editing software. Final projects are presented to and shared with all class members during the last week of school.

Here is a playlist to all the student videos.

Ms. Sawyer teaches 7th grade social studies in The Learning Collaborative. She is in her 4th year of teaching, the last 3 at Dent Middle School in Richland School District Two. Ms. Sawyer was in an ITEC classroom before moving to TLC. "I try to take a creative approach to social studies, encouraging students to experience history first hand."

Mrs. Huff is the TLC Seventh Grade Science Teacher at Dent Middle School. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (2008) from The State University of New York College at Brockport. Mrs. Huff holds a Masters in Adolescent Education (minor in grades 5-6) from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY (2009). She also holds certification in Gifted and Talented Education from Coastal Carolina (2012). Mrs. Huff has taught in the private and alternative school settings in New York. When she moved to SC in 2010, she taught high school biology and health at Edisto High School. This is her second year with the Richland School District Two.

Here is a playlist to all the student videos.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SC Midlands Summit is fast approaching! Only 20 days away!

We have an amazing line up of featured speakers including: Lodge McCammon, from the Friday Institute; Tammy Worcester Tang, with class integration of Google and iPads; Greg Tang, author of math story books (The Grapes of Math) and developer of math apps; Dan Russell, Google's ┼░ber Tech Lead for Search Quality and User Happiness. Returning for a second year is Jaime Casap, Google's Senior Education Evangelist and Tim Childers, Assistant Principal for Technology Integration at the L&N STEM Academy, a STEM Magnet for Knox County Schools There are over 100 sessions for you to attend during this two day event. You have the ability to receive up to 14 renewal credits for attending all of the sessions.

There are only a few spaces left if you plan on attending! Registration only costs $35 for this amazing line up of featured speakers. 

Interact with sessions! 
Jaime Casip and Dan Russell, two of our featured speakers from Google, will host Q&A Time with Google Gurus Wednesday, June 13 at 2:25pm. If you are interested in attending this session please post your questions and vote on questions that others have posted in Google Moderator

Important Summit Information!

Lunch Choices- Westwood High School is not easily accessible to restaurants so we will have lunch choices for you to pre-purchase. 
Order lunches here before June 10, 2013.

More tips and important information on the SC Midlands Summit.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Janice Rice-Kafafy, Ridge View High School

Technology has always had a special place in Ridge View High Teacher of the Year, Janice Rice-Kafafy’s heart. That love grew two years ago when her then boyfriend now husband proposed to her via a surprise Skype call (from Egypt) during class one day.

Today, she makes technology an integral part of her self-contained special education classroom. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy was frustrated by the fact that her students Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings often consisted of parents and teachers discussing a student’s needs while the student sat mute and unable to express concerns. Last March, when she received a class set of Chromebooks she decided to use these new tools to help improve the IEP process. Now students use computer time each week to plan their own IEPs. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy believes that students must have the ability to advocate for themselves. The technology available at Ridge View High School allows the students to communicate, research future careers, create presentations about themselves, and learn about their strengths. Mrs. Rice-Kafafy hopes that by next year students will be able to lead their own IEP conference, and therefore, become a more active participant in their education. “I have seen the students. . . flourish; not only verbally, but in the knowledge of what their disability is and how they can advocate for themselves and how they can use technology to advocate for themselves.”

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dent Middle School gets a visit from Google - "You are What You Share"

Google visited Dent Middle School last Friday to kick off it's "You are What You Share" Campaign. The sixth graders were invited to learn about how to keep themselves safe online brought to them by Google Good to Know

“We are truly honored Google has chosen Dent Middle School as a site to kick off its digital literacy campaign. This campaign coincides perfectly with our District’s efforts of not only increasing student engagement and achievement through the use of technology but also reinforces our commitment to ensuring students are equipped with the knowledge, tools and strategies needed to use social media responsibly,” said Principal Dr. Randall Gary.

The hour long assembly covered five tips students need to be aware of stay safe online.

1. Think before you share 
Any blog post, status update, picture uploaded, etc affects not only your online life but your offline life. Items can be forwarded via email; Copied: a text or image can be easily copied by taking a screenshot and sending it to more people. Anything you share can be found. Just because you deleted the original place it was shared doesn't mean copies are deleted. There are over 2.4 billion people online around world that have the potential of seeing things you share that equals 29,814 full Williams Brice Stadiums!

2. Protect your stuff 
Set your passwords with at least 8 characters. Mix letters, numbers, and special characters. Have a different password for every site. The most common used passwords , which are also weak passwords are hello, 12345, and password.

How do you remember your password? Think of a favorite song, memory, or person and create a password around it. Google's motto is 'Don't be evil.' This can be made in to a password by creating a mix of letter and numbers, D0ntbe3vil. Of course a great way to stay safe is to not share your passwords!

3. Know and use your settings
Be sure to lock your devices and sign out of sites you use on computer when you are finished.

4. Avoid scams  
Understand what phishing is. "Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames,passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Be wary of any emails that promise fortune for responding or clicking on links to see if you are a winner.

5. Stay positive 
How do you stay positive? Report things that are not appropriate online. Always respond to posts comment in positive manner. A challenge to everyone is to post at least one positive comment a day.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gamification in Science

A new term is popping up in education called, gamification, and it seems to be causing a stir. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems. Can gaming help students with content in the classroom? Recently the PBS Idea Channel posted this video on using Minecraft in the classroom. 

After watching this video I thought, 'How cool would it be to use a game students are all ready playing to teach content?' Little did I know the next week I would showing some visitors Mrs. Juli Jones' classroom at Kelly Mill Middle School and see two students creating a review game using Minecraft on one of the desktop computers in the classroom. I couldn't believe this is what I was seeing but it was. I was able to sit down with Mrs. Jones,  Jimmy, and Coltan to ask about this project. 

The students were creating a review game on the respiratory and circulatory systems. Jimmy and Coltan decided to work together when Mrs. Jones said they could create a Minecraft game. Both students play Minecraft at home and thought it would make an interesting review game. They learned to play Minecraft from friends and have been playing for a few years.

I asked the students how creating this game changed the class, the students responded by saying, they wanted to do the work. It also allowed Jimmy and Coltan to work and talk with someone as they completed the project. Both students also said they worked on the project longer creating the game then they would have if had chosen something else. Coltan said the best part was Mrs. Jones told them they were "building science."

Mrs. Jones is what I consider to be a risk taker with technology integration. The times I have been in her classroom she is willing to let the students try new things to see what/how they learn. She says it's her way to "connect with student engagement and makes it exciting for the students to come to school." The ideas the students come up with for completing projects helps the students make "connections to the content." Mrs. Jones says, It's "fun to teach people who are excited to learn."

Jimmy and Coltan took time to show me their project and a few tips on how to create in Minecraft. 

If you are interested in finding out a little more about Minecraft see the links below:

Minecraft the game

Minecraft in Education Scoop.it links

Friday, May 10, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Lorena Swetnam, Blythewood Middle School

Lorena Swetnam is the media specialist at Blythewood Middle School. This is her fourth year as a media specialist and at BMS. She loves coming to work everyday because everyday is different. "I have the best job in the building. I get to promote reading, research and technology to students and teachers every day."

Mrs. Swetnam works collaboratively with classroom teachers and Mrs. Shelley, the school's ITS, to design engaging lessons and activities that incorporate literacy, technology and research. "A couple of years ago I learned about a term called 'transliteracy' and it resonated with me because it describes what we do in the library everyday.' Transliteracy (http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/what-is-transliteracy/) is defined as "the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks."

Examples of Technology & Learning:
Mrs. Swetnam works with classroom teachers to embed digital literacy skills at the point of need. She teaches students how to use the resources in DISCUS (scdiscus.org) for research projects, how to cite sources using citation tools like Noodletools and teaches students how to evaluate resources for authenticity.

The media center program received a class set of iPod touches through the iPac program The iPod touches have been used in lessons designed by Mrs. Swetnam and the classroom teacher. Students in Language Arts and Science classes have used the Storyrobe app to create digital stories where students share their learning through images and audio. Often times, the final product is featured on the morning news show which Mrs. Swetnam also helps facilitate.

Mrs. Swetnam has been working to promote e-reading at BMS. This year Mrs. Swetnam visited each Language Arts class to teach students how to access ebooks in Overdrive and Follettshelf. The BMS media center is also circulating five Nook e-readers, loaded with up to 20 title, to students.

Mrs. Swetnam facilitates the school's student produced news show program. The news show team accesses the announcements each morning on Google Docs and adds current news events to be featured each morning. Students use cameras, sound equipment and a Tricaster to showcase videos, music and BMS happenings to the school each morning.

Mrs. Swetnam has been working with Language Arts teachers this year to design literacy cafes where students come to the media center to read and view materials that provide background information on a novel students are reading in class. In this activity, students read nonfiction informational text and view videos that help deepen the learning in the classroom. "This has been my favorite activity this year because I work with the Language Arts teacher to determine what skills and information the students need to learn more about and I research and gather the needed material. During a literacy cafe, I may select any or all of the following for the literacy cafe: picture books, poetry books, videos from Discovery Education, news articles from DISCUS or nonfiction texts from our school collection. The teacher and media specialist also collaborate to determine whether students will write reflections in their online journals, create videos or digital posters of their learning during the literacy cafe.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Technology Spotlight - Mary Kathryn Burbank, Bridge Creek Elementary

Mary Kathryn Burbank is the music teacher at Bridge Creek Elementary School. She has been teaching for fourteen years, and this is her third in Richland School District Two.  Students in her classroom learn music through the Orff Schulwerk approach, which is based on things children naturally do: sing, chant rhymes, move, and play.  The students hear and experience the music first, and learn to read and write it later.

Mary Kathryn wanted to find a way to incorporate reading and writing music with technology.  After becoming acquainted with a site called Noteflight at a music inservice, she realized it was the tool she needed. Fourth and fifth grade students in her classroom practiced improvising melodies on barred percussion instruments, including xylophones and glockenspiels.  They brought their Chromebooks to the music room for many weeks, collaborating to create patterns that worked well together and plotting those notes on the music staff in the Noteflight site.

One recent composition sounded mysterious and eerie to a particular 5th grade class, so they entitled it "Zombie Turkey."  They added an accompaniment pattern and the school's steel band transferred it to their instruments.  The steel band students created a middle section for improvised solos and performed it at the recent spring concert, allowing the technology used to travel full-circle.

Zombie Turkey was enjoyed by all who were involved in its creation, and it exists because of technology and 1TWO1 computing.

*If you would like to nominate someone for a technology spotlight, please contact your Instructional Technology Specialist.