Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Student Highlight - Chromebooks - Student Perspective

Meet Ava F.  and Elisa R, New Century Middle 6th graders!

"Chromebooks are such a part of our daily routine, that we hardly ever think about having to do things on the computer, we just do it!" "They make most things simpler." Chromebook are our life!

Recently I sat down with these two 6th graders to talk about how the Chromebook has changed their learning environment. "I really like it better than doing classwork with a notebook and pencil. The computer makes it easier and more fun. I like using the Chromebook except for taking a test. This is not just because it's a test, it is hard for me to read the test on-line and make a choice."

Elise shared that in one of her Flex classes, she had to make a commercial. It was actually aired on the school news show. "That was fun. I learned how to use the green screen to record the commercial. I had never done that before and it was really fun. I had never made a webpage before, and I made one of those too. We worked as a group and designed a company and items to sell. Our webpage was about our mouse accessory company, MEMLA."

"We use our computers in class everyday. I have a Moodle account, an Edmodo account and we use Discovery Ed in Social studies every day! We don't use the computer all day long, I think it's a healthy balance. We usually use them more on Thursday's and Friday's because of tests.We use the computer in Social Studies every day because Discovery Ed is our Tech Book - we don't have an actual text book anymore."

Ava has Art for Flex. She uses the computer for research in Art. "For instance, we had to choose a college basketball team and then research that team. We wrote a report which included information about the college and the basketball team. We teamed up with the AIG class for this project. The culminating project was to create a poster highlighting the team (this was not done on the computer). I think it would have been really hard to make the poster on the computer and I don't think people would have shown as much effort. It would have been easier for the teacher to grade it if we had used the computer!  The posters are up on the wall and receive an large red X when the team loses. It's the big basketball tournament, you know." 

When I asked them how their responsibilities have changed since getting the Chromebooks, they said they had a lot of new responsibilities! First, we have to remember to bring it to school each day and to have it charged. We have to make sure we know where it is at all times, and we are responsible for them all day long. If something happens to it, our parents will have to pay for the Chromebook; that would not be good. I have always had a digital device such as a phone or an iPad so that part is not new. We also have e-mail accounts now and that is very helpful because we can communicate with our friends, e-mail the teacher if we have a problem or to ask about a project. We can't e-mail people outside of Moore County, so that makes it difficult when working on a project. We know that everything is being monitored, so we just do what is right. That doesn't bother either of us! 

Their words of advice were, "You know what is right, so just do that!"

New Century Middle School

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cool Tool - Streamus

I always enjoy attending NCTIES and this year's conference was no exception.  It's always a great opportunity to learn from other professionals around the state and share successes, failures and the newest ways to use technology in your classroom.  Anytime I can take away a tool that can help in the classroom, as well as my personal life, it is a bonus.

Streamus is one of those bonus sites that has applications in and outside of the classroom.  Streamus is a Chrome Extension that allows users to stream audio clips that are pulled from YouTube videos.

Classroom Uses:

  • Classroom environment
  • Content Enrichment
  • Pacing
  • Creativity
  • Writing Prompts

Personal Uses:
  • Creating awesome playlists

"Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents."
-Ludwig van Beethoven


Tyler Callahan
Moore County Schools
Digital Integration Facilitator

Welcome to the World of Augmented Reality!

  A new trend in technology is here, and you should be a part of it! If you are interested in making your ordinary lessons extraordinary, the world of augmented reality (AR) is probably for you. Last year I learned about AR at the NCTIES conference in Raleigh, and was completely in awe. This technology opens so many doors for our students and allows teachers to instruct in a unique way. 
  An augmented reality environment, includes elements of the real world and virtual world simultaneously. AR has been around for years, but has recently become more developed to use in the classroom. There are a series of AR apps that are available for IOS and Android devices for free, and are easy to use. Below I will highlight a couple of my favorite AR apps and how you can implement them into your instruction.

   Anatomy 4D
I have never heard more "oohs and aahs" then when showing this app to students and teachers. This app was developed by the company DAQRI, and allows users to experience the human body in a 4D environment. This is a terrific way to supplement instruction on the human body and cardiovascular system. To use Anatomy 4D, the user will need to go to the DAQRI website and print the two sheets needed for the app (human body and heart). After these sheets are printed, they can be scanned to get an amazing view of the body systems.

  AR Flashcards
The beauty of AR Flashcards, is that there are several topics of study within one app. I have shown this to kindergarten through third grade teachers, and many are eager to implement this next year. With this app, children can practice naming letters of the alphabet, shapes, and planets. Simply go to the AR Flashcards website, and print off the pages of your choice. This a terrific tool for younger students to practice foundational skills, in a bright new way!

I hope you give augmented reality an opportunity to enhance instruction in your classroom!
~Deanna Boesch

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chromebooks in EDU

Teacher Feature - Chris Vondruska

This week’s teacher feature article finds us catching up with Chris Vondruska at Union Pines High School. When Chris is not coaching state wrestling champions he teaches standard and honors World History at UPHS. Mr. Vondruska asked me to collaborate on a lesson that would increase student understanding of Mesoamerican, Pre-Columbian civilizations by incorporating various digital tools to research and present those findings.
The lesson we arrived at was a class wide jigsaw in which student groups of three researched an assigned group (guided questions focused that research), assembled relevant images in Google Drawings, and combined that data with images on a ThingLink.


The students in all three blocks did a great job (see examples below) are were extremely efficient. The students completed their research, image collages, and Thinglinks in one class period; not bad for introducing a brand new tool.  
Mr. Vondruska and I loaded student projects by url into a “master” presentation (example seen below) so students can visualize the geographic location of each. When the class reconvenes the students will present their civilization to peers and after presentations are completed, the ThingLink will be shared with all for lesson notes.
Screenshot 2015-03-19 at 3.12.42 PM.png

Hint: Creating a “master” presentation reinforces student understanding of the unit and saves class time that would otherwise be spent logging in and out or finding links from an email address..

Want to see more ThingLink? 

Great Job Chris!
Thank you for reading
Will Herring
DIF-Moore County Schools

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Student Feature: Meet Weston - AKA “Blake”

Blake is a 7th grader at Crain's Creek Middle School and is, in my opinion, a           
“kid techie.” Blake will be assisting me with my digital news program because of his familiarity with Apple's imovie program. He is an extremely talented video editor.  He also has his own website, which is extremely detailed and professional looking.  When students spend their spare time and energy creating and publishing a project to be seen by the entire world, not required by their teachers, they start preparing themselves for a successful future.  

Blake does not hesitate to email me when he notices that I have posted something new to my website: classreynolds.org. He enjoys my site and is a frequent visitor.

One day, I received an email from Blake stating the following: “I was just on your website and saw that you like codeacademy.com too!”

I replied, “I'm actually at a conference right now learning all sorts of coding stuff! I'll share with you soon!”

Then Blake stated, “Cool! I am about to start a freestyle script for my gaming guild for an in-game car radio.”

At that point, I knew I had to find out a little more about this interesting kid!

Blake even has his own Youtube Channel.


When did you start becoming interested in coding?

A couple of years ago when I got my first computer. I wanted to know exactly how that computer worked.

What are your favorite games?

ArmA III and Battlefield Hardline, which I pre-ordered and it comes out today. I can't wait! I've played both of the beta versions.

What are your favorite subjects in school?

ELA and History

How do you think coding affects how we learn in school?

Everything we see on our Chromebooks is a result of code. If it were not for coders, we would not see any websites or games or anything. We wouldn't even have Google.

If you could create anything using code, what would it be?

First I would learn how to edit HTML and CSS. I want to learn how to completely understand that language. I would love to be able to create my very own website from scratch, not using any form of template.

Who is the primary audience of your website?

Students who are my age.

Do you plan to become involved with computer science in the future?

I want to go to college to study computer science. I was thinking about applying to NC State. They have an excellent computer science program and I have always been an NC State Fan.

What is your greatest dream for the future?

It is my ultimate dream to develop my own operating system and be the CEO of a computer company like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Tell me some other interesting things about yourself.

I went to a coding class at the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh. We used Linux to run some simple code. I am not a big fan of the Linux Operating System because the controls are not very user friendly and I have not practiced enough with it. I prefer Windows over anything else, and I am comfortable on Macs too. In this class we used LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to practice coding. I learned how to program this little 3x3 light grid to light up at specific times. I learned about the “Raspberry Pi” device. I have one at home, which I use to practice coding.

What is your website about?

Miscbuck.weebly.com is the address and it has game links, links to things students may explore when they are finished with their work or at home like comics, forums, and links to coding websites where they can learn and practice coding. I created this site using The Weebly Website Builder. Weebly.com

Why does your site address contain “miscbuck?”

Many of my peers say I am very random. That's what the “Misc” is for. “Buck” is short for my last name.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Southern Pines Primary Students React to...The Device Pilot

Friday, November 14th was a big day for the elementary schools of Moore County. This was the day that devices were delivered to Highfalls Elementary, Westmoore Elementary, and Southern Pines Primary School to be put in the hands of students so that our district could get input from students and teachers as to which device they should go with as move towards our 1:1 goal. Here at Southern Pines Primary, two second grade classes received a cart of Chromebooks to test out and two first grade classes got their hands on a cart of Samsung Galaxy tablets.

It was love at first sight. These students have truly enjoyed the opportunity to test out the Chromebooks and Samsung Galaxies. Their eyes light up when I walk into their classrooms because they know they usually work with their device when I'm in the room. It's hard to have a bad day when you have kids running up to hug you when they see you. To give you an idea of how these students feel about the pilot devices, as well as a taste of what they can create with them, here's a video I made with a Samsung Galaxy using WeVideo.

Find out more information about our Elementary School Pilot by visiting our website here.

- Clint Rogers