Tuesday, December 12, 2017

TMST: DASHing Through the Snow

Every year, I look forward to the week we celebrate Hour of Code, but not for the reason you might think.  Sure, the exploration time and engagement during HOC is exciting, but what I really look forward to is what happens AFTER the Hour of Code.

I wanted to triple like this tweet by Jon Samuelson.  Since I couldn't, I am posting it here:

Preach it, @jonsamuelson!

The Hour of Code is meant to spark further engagement and interest in coding and robotics.  So as you head into winter break, consider: How does your classroom #continuecoding? What part does coding play in your learning experiences and curriculum? 

My teammate, Megan Kozar wrote an amazing blog this week about taking the Hour of Code further.  It outlines the why we must continue experiences past the hour, how CISD's Code2Learn initiative is designed to build the thinking skills behind coding and robotics into the curriculum and how we as Digital Learning Coaches can help.

Inspired by her and Jon's words, here is one way to #continuecoding this week....

My friend, Stephanie Shannon and I worked together to design a digital breakout that uses Dash robots and the Blockly app.  In the breakout, her 2nd graders must solve math problems to determine which "stops" Dash must be coded to before arriving at the Candy Castle.  Each group of kids places cards with images of the "stops" randomly.  It is their job to determine the path Dash must take using what they learn within the breakout.  

We created a Google Site to house the problems and used Google Forms for them to submit answers to gain access to the location "stops".  Stephanie also created a sheet that learners can use to plan and solve the problems as they go.  This way, learners can get back to their work if the activity gets interrupted.  The design of this experience was a great collaboration between the two of us.  

Want to learn more about this lesson?  Have a great idea to #continuecoding in your classroom?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

TMST: Google Drive Assignments in Schoology

Early this school year, Schoology advertised a new feature which goes at the top of my 2017 "game changers" list.  After months of using the force copy trick to share links in Schoology, we finally learned that Schoology was adding a tool that could do it for us.  We could assign a Google Doc to learners directly from Schoology, have it make an individual copy and let us interact using comments and all we love about docs within Schoology.

A few of us jumped on it and then pulled out some of our hair when it didn't work the way we needed it to.  (Cue Digital Learning Truths #1 and #2 from above.)  After working with Schoology support on our struggles and applying some patience, we recently tested it again...and it works!  (Cue Digital Learning Truth #3)

Now that we know it is working, let's learn how to use it in under 3 min!  

First, make sure your learners' Schoology apps have been updated and that they are running iOS 11. 

Next, create the assignment using "Assign from Google Drive".

Then, have learners use the Schoology App to access, edit and submit.

Last, comment, collaborate and grade from Schoology. 

I'd love to help support you as you try this function out!  Book me to help you set it up, co-teach or model a lesson using it!

What will you share with learners first? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Coppell DLCs launch PLNs

This year, our Digital Learning Team is facilitating the creation of mini PLNs (personal learning networks) throughout our district. What is a PLN?  Take a look at this quick video by Marc-Andre Lelande that explains it beautifully!

Coppell ISD readers, from January to April of this year, you'll be able to learn with your PLN through a variety of modalities. Your PLN might choose to do a book study, participate in a Twitter chat, meet in person or virtually. The sky is the limit - whatever will help you meet your digital learning goals. Interested?  Visit this form to join a professional learning network by Friday, December 15th.

You will receive an email from your PLN facilitator the week of Jan 3rd with next steps on beginning your PLN journey.

Have questions? Check in with me! I'd love to talk to you more about how joining a PLN can help you reach your digital learning goals this year!


My team and attendees had a great time at our Digital Learning Party and Live Tweetup last week! Thank you to all who attended and/or participated in the Twitter Chat.

Relive the DLC Launch Party below!

Were you unable to join us?  Check out the chat questions here.  How would you respond?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TMST: Email Leftovers

While Thanksgiving break was beyond needed and appreciated, did anyone else come back to school with more than just turkey leftovers weighing you down?  I'm not talking about the extra pounds we added from all that pumpkin pie, I'm talking about my overfull email inbox.

Yep, it's that time of year when my inbox tends to get pretty scary.  That's why I am linking up with my friends, Monica and Kelly over at CHS to share some top tips for email management.

Check out their post, "No Good Ever Comes From Clicking Reply All" over at Teacher Tech Tools in 2.  

Want to learn what my favorite email feature is right now?  Check out the comments on their blog and while you are there, leave one of your favorite tips too!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pic Collage School Settings

Did you know?  The Pic Collage app has some settings that you can enable to eliminate web searches and social features?  

Simply find Pic Collage in your Settings App

Disable social features and web searches

And voila! Your learners will not see as much of the extra "noise" in the app!

Why is this important?  Well, we want our learners to get used to searching for images that are copyright free and age appropriate.  Our librarians are AWESOME resources in how to use some of our great library databases including Image Quest for this.  Also, but eliminating the social features, we ensure that learners can focus only on their content and creativity.

Have questions?  Just let me know!  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

TMST: Hour of Code 2017

I know we are all in "turkey mode", counting the days until we wear our comfy pants and watch football, but truthfully I am just as excited for the weeks after break.  

In district? Contact me with questions on how to attend!
Not only is my team offering a DLC PLN Launch Party event to kick start professional learning networks within our district (see image on the left), but the HOUR OF CODE is coming!!

You might remember my passion for the Hour of Code from last year when I posted about it here and here.

This year, my awesome team has built up some awesome resources to support our educators and learners as we once again celebrate the week of December 4-10th.

All educators Pre-K-12 are invited to sign up for Hour of Code and check out the resources below!

Sign up for the Hour of Code

K-12 Resources for educators curated by the Coppell DLCs

K-2 Choice board for learners

3-5th grade Choice Board for Learners

Are you in CISD?  All of these resources and more can be found in the Curriculum and Instruction Group in Schoology!

How can I help?  Let me know what you are planning or any help you might need in the comments!

Monday, November 13, 2017

AirDrop Sharing

The following information is from CISD Director of Instructional Technology, Nancy Garvey.

Recently, the Digital Learning Coaches reviewed the instructional relevance of enabling the Airdrop feature on shared iPads and determined that the feature continues to be valid in an educational setting. AirDrop allows Macbooks and iOS devices to share files wirelessly via bluetooth.
Listed below are some ways that you may consider using Airdrop in your classroom:
  • Airdropping a website from one iPad to another, which is great if they want to bookmark to read later
  • Quickly collect digital assignments (Notability notes, products created with other iOS apps)
  • Share learner in-progress work on a projector/presentation station
  • Educators can send documents, assignment details, presentations to learners
  • Return feedback in the form of notes to learners
  • Facilitate guided or small group instruction and share information between educators and learners
  • Send an image or creative meme to celebrate or recognize positive behavior.
One best practice to consider using with Airdrop is disabling the ability to receive items via Airdrop until you or your learners are ready. In order to customize Airdrop preferences, launch Settings > General > Airdrop. The screenshot below shows an image of the menu of preferences.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns!  


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