BBSS was ORGANIZED!
We just finished four rollouts at Beaver Brae High School (Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12) and let me tell you, there is a Martha Stewart-in-training here at BBSS library! She had this place ready to go, and by ready to go, I mean READY TO GO!
I think that you should check out the slideshow above and the notes below to find your own way to an an amazing, smooth netbook rollout that will make everyone happy!
Laptops were cataloged through L4U, and then signed out to each student. After signing them out, Ms. Laffin attached the user agreements to each laptop, and then organized them by class. Because Beaver Brae is such a huge school (like really huge compared my own alma mater which had 20 students graduating in 1991!), she organized them by class and alphabetically (with posters!). When the students entered, they grabbed their laptops and handed their user agreements back in.
Students who didn’t have their laptops sat in and watched the start up process. BBSS has some tech-students on hand that will help these non-signers later on! Little notes were also provided to those that didn’t remember their login or passwords.
With laptops on the table (she even removed the inserts!), we got going. With a projector in place and techie-kinda-people scattered about, it was smooth sailing. By the end of the day we had hundreds of netbooks into students’ hands, and a plan that we can share with other schools and boards who do a laptop rollout in the future!
Thank you BBSS, and to the students – “ENJOY (and LEARN!)!”
Quite honestly, it feels like Christmas.
In the span of a week, we will be visiting Lillian Berg School in Vermillion Bay, New Prospect School in Dryden, Keewatin Public School in Kenora, Golden Learning Centre in Balmertown, Ear Falls Public School, Savant Lake Public School and Ignace Public School. This means that hundreds of students will now be taking the first step in a remarkable journey as active participants in their education.
So what does a rollout look like?
As a team, our Technology and Learning teachers, Information Systems Manager, and Information Technology technicians come to the school and spend about an hour with the students. Together, we review basic overall expectations and review the user agreement, which is signed by EVERY student. The netbooks are logged in our inventory system (L4U) then signed out to students. We then have the students open up their netbook, set the configurations (as easy as “naming” the computer and allowing a re-start), and check that every student is able to log on the Internet. We give a brief tour of the ins and outs of the equipment, and set up students with access to our k12 domain on Google Docs.
After that, we send the students and teachers on their way!
Support will continue in a variety of formats, but above all else, we reiterate that it will be through joint exploration that teachers and students find a fit for its use at their respective grade and comfort levels. The key messages are important, and we recognize that in today’s world there is no one-size-fits-all teaching and learning model. For some, it may be starting with a simple transition from doing what they what they would normally do in the computer lab, instead, in the comfort of classroom. For others, having access at their fingertips may inspire something new, such as creating new strategies for teaching and learning across the content areas with web tools. The beautiful part- the choice is ours.
We’ve had a great time over the past 8 months…
Netbooks and SMART Boards are everywhere! Students and educators have become co-learners as we embark on 21st Century learning, MINUS the technology barrier. We barely remember waiting for the “lab” to be free for computer time, and when we have on-the-spot research or inquiry, the SMART board and Internet give us just the right tool when we need it.
In reflecting on how our practices have changed, we’ve gathered a few tidbits of photos and video to share what learning looks and feels like with supplementary technology at our fingertips. Here is a video on Animoto to give you a sneak peek. Please feel free to comment on our work- we love to hear from you and REALLY love to talk about what’s new.
The Intermediate teachers at Sioux Mountain School have focused on incorporting Aboriginal perspectives into our daily curriculum. Students have been working on Glog and Prezi Research Projects highlighting a Nation of their choice. ENJOY!
In a Cycle of Inquiry, students in Ann McDonald’s kindergarten class wanted to learn more about rocks. Where better than to learn about rocks than by checking in with the experts?
FAST FORWARD A FEW SHORT WEEKS…
Enter, The Smithsonian.
With the help of free communication tool Skype, teachers and students met almost face-to-face with curators from the world-class museum, in what turned out to be not only a first for kindergarten students, but for the folks at the Smithsonian as well. The experience was a meaningful experience for all of those involved, as the experts had sent actual rock samples to the school beforehand and were able to hold up the same samples as they shared in real-time with the class at Lakewood.
There were endless thanks given on both ends as the session concluded, and a copy of our little Animoto video was shared with the museum as they hope to use visuals like this to encourage management to allow subsequent connections to be made with other students across the world. Our five-year-olds may not know the big-picture impact of this learning experience on others, but they sure were excited to ask the “tough questions” to their panel of experts!
(click link to view video of our Skype with the Smithsonian)
Students at Lakewood have been using a class blog page since September. Soon after, students began expressing interest in creating their own PERSONAL blogs, so it became clear that we would have some work to do on digital citizenship and Internet Safety.
We decided to use a very student-friendly and secure web tool calledKidblog.
With Kidblog, we are able to create a safe environment where students can learn how to create quality blog posts and comment on eachother’s work, within the safe confines a teacher-monitored domain.
Every student has their own blog page, and can personalize it as they see fit.
In a short time, students moved from consumers to creators, and bumped up their critical thinking by exploring a variety of curriculum-related topics.
Below is a sample of a grade 5 student’s blog post:
Students are continuing to “tweak” their comments before inviting their families and friends to view their blogs, soon to be released to the public during Education Week this May. Stay tuned!
In terms of collaboration and co-teaching, the primary division came out in full-force this year through our PLC CYCLE. Our Board-wide initiatives include taking a look at whole-small-whole instruction, (in other words, a 3-part lesson including small group and whole-class components). To this end, CILM Math and a “Bansho” type of instruction fits in perfectly.
Gayleen Bell, (grade 3 teacher), took the lead in this cycle of inquiry by inviting the primary teachers to work with her in an introduction to fractions. The diagonostic component would be a co-plan/ co-teach, which of course means a terrific student-to-teacher ratio.
The process very much resembles a whole-small-whole format itself, with teachers meeting to plan the lesson, joining the class to share in the lesson, and later coming back together to discuss the outcome. There certainly is power in this process, and every individual gains from the experience.
Taking photos and video along the way helps the teaching team to reflect in a “big-picture” way. Along with examples of the student work, we are able to gain an understanding of best practices and strategies for delivering content.
We put together a little video with Animoto, a user-friendly movie-making program, to share the 3-part lesson with our students.
The classroom teacher, Gayleen Bell, was very pleased with the outcome. Not only did it allow her to get a great diagnostic assessment of her student’s prior knowledge with fractions, it allowed her the opportunity to share in her own professional development in real-time, with real content. Students also loved seeing the Animoto movie of their work on the SMART Board, and look forward to continuing to use a number of technology-based applications throughout their Fractions unit.
We have been using Ipads in the Early Learning Classrooms on a regular basis. One app in particular called “Show Me”, has given our students a chance to show the process of their thinking. By the way, this is a FREE app! (We knew that would get your attention!)