Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Silver Lining....of Educational Technology

So it has been almost a year since my last blog post and I'll admit, I have not been the enthusiastic, try-new-things teacher that I have prided myself on being. But today I am starting fresh. So a quick summary of recent news and what's to come.

1. My district has gone coo-coo for....Google Apps (not Cocoa Puffs - okay by me; I do not tolerate chocolate in my cereal)
2. After buying chromebooks to help as implement the new online testing going on in Colorado, the district decided to have teachers write grant proposals to gain access to those devices during the off-season (when we aren't testing)
3. First grant applicants prove that having 1:1 devices is awesome for our students
4. District decides to buy many more devices ahead of schedule (mid-year instead of next year) and plans to move to being a full 1:1 district eventually
4. I apply (with two colleagues -they wanted collaborative teams) for a set
5. We succeed! .....along with many other teachers in the district (they were so impressed by the applications that they ordered 3 more sets than they planned on....which might be here late but will have bigger screens and more gigs....can you guess which lucky team of 3 will get these 3 late arriving chromebooks?)

So, I just spent my entire evening at a training on Google. I am very Google savvy but my teammates and I, always aware that there is more to learn, opted to take the class just in case there was new information and there was. We could have planned (and probably still will) a parent information night.

Knowing this was coming, we have also been taking a serious look at some LMS options. For those of you who aren't familiar with the concept of LMS, it stands for Learning Management System. Up until recently, we have used Edmodo but I have always found it to be cumbersome. When the district swtiched to Google Apps, I considered using Google Classroom but since it is so new, wanted something with a little more functionality. Recently, however, we were introduced to Schoology and I am now thoroughly in love, feeling that I have finally found an LMS which was well planned out vs something that grew organically (and somewhat disastrously) the way Edmodo has.

I see a post in the future about selecting the right LMS for you....but I spent all afternoon/evening at a class, so tonight is not that night.

Part of being in the Silver Linings program (yes that is the official name and yes they actually turned that into an educational acronym about technology integration) means that I have to engage in some reflection on the chromebooks effect on my classroom....so I think blogging will be back in for me, as I work to gather my thoughts on how this is all going.

And as one of my parents emails always says this year - blame any typos on my Apple products.

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