Category Archives: LMS

Why STEM Projects Work

As the Tech Ready Team has been working on building STEM projects this year, I’ve had a chance to see how these projects are working in the classroom and the great opportunities that these projects are opening up across our district.

The slideshow below is part description, part reflection on the ways they’ve been successful, and part vision of how they could be expanded.  Take a look at it.

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How to Moodle… Just Ask Us

If you’re the type of person who likes to have a manual to refer to this is the Moodle resource for you.  howtomoodle

How To Moodle is a company that provides training for schools and teachers using Moodle as their classroom website.  They have decided to make available for free their Moodlemanualmanual on using the latest version of Moodle.  If you’re the type of person who likes to have a manual to refer to this is the Moodle resource for you.  The manual is useful with all versions of Moodle, but WUSD will  hopefully have the latest version of Moodle up and running soon at your school.

To download the manual click here, you can also find it on the WUSD Tech Resources page under the LMS section.  It’s in pdf format so you can refer to it as an eBook in electronic format.  Before you click the link and push print, be forewarned that the manual is 162 pages.  Below is a screenshot from the manual on the Moodle Quiz Activity:

quizactivity

Troubleshooting with 4 A’s

Schools everywhere are acquiring more and more technology with the goal to benefit teaching and learning.  Unfortunately, experiencing technical difficulties from time to time is inevitable. Good things can also come from these, sometimes frustrating technical problems.  Troubleshooting is a skill that in this day and age everyone should be prepared to handle, regardless of their level of expertise.  Teacher and students will become technology independent and more tech savvy, but the greatest benefit is the critical thinking and problem solving skills that the student will acquire.

There are two things to remember about troubleshooting:

  • The goal is not necessarily to”fix” the problem. If you can’t find the solution, that is okay! Sometime even the “expert” wont have a solution.  Instead focus on how you as a teacher, can use this problem solving process to publicly exhibit how your students analyze information, draw conclusions, take action, and evaluate by reflecting on the outcome.
  • Don’t think of troubleshooting as a technical term, think of it as a logical procedure.

Following the  4 A’s below will help guide you and your students through the troubleshooting process.

troubleshooting diagram

  1. ATTITUDE- The most important and most difficult step to when troubleshooting is having a positive attitude.  Your attitude will determine how you control the situation.  Having a positive attitude will also increase your chances of success.
  2. ASK – Stop, think, and ask questions.  Ask yourself and your students what happened and why it happened. The more questions you ask, the more in-depth diagnosis you will generate.
  3. ANSWER – Answer the questions you asked yourself and your students.  Let your student generate assumptions and evaluate the information.  From here, you can proceed with the process of elimination to narrow down the problem.
  4. ACTION – Use your and your students’ intuition to take action(s) to resolve the problem.

If the problem is fixed, you and your students will have saved the day!  If the problem is not fixed, do not get discouraged. Reflect on the outcome , ask more questions, and try again.  If after a few tries, the problem is not fix, don’t panic. Remind yourself and your students that some problems are harder to fix than others.  Effort and what was learned from the process is the most important lesson.  If you need to seek for additional help from tech support, try to stay involved so you collaboratively fix the problem.

The more practice, the more effective and successful you and your students will become. So next time your having technical difficulties, instead of having the “expert” work their “magic” and save the day, let your students be your heroes!

Troubleshooting Guide for Dell Latitude Tablets

The first phase of the tablet deployment is underway.  Many students have completed a required online technology orientation, in which they have learned the basic operations of the device, their responsibilities and digital citizenship.

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Teachers have also received training and in class support.  Many have already started using the devices to support instruction.  During this second phase of deployment, we have learned a few lessons  have caused trouble for teachers and students. The Tech Ready Team has created a troubleshooting guide to help with the most common technology glitches and difficulties. You can download the Tablet Troubleshooting Solutions guide for your convenience.

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Teachers are not the only ones that are learning how find solutions to technology difficulties.  Students are also learning to become excellent problem solvers and eager to help each other by showing off their troubleshooting skills.

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Challenges and technical difficulties are inevitable, especially when using new technology, but providing teacher support and finding solutions is a critical factor for success.  A BIG thank you to all the WUSD teachers for their participation and dedication!

There’s an app for that- Whiteriver Teacher Tool

With the goal of trying to make technology resources easier for teachers to access, I’ve created a web app that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet.

If you have access to a smartphone or tablet, simply open a browser and find your way to http://wusd.app.appery.io or scan the QR code below.

QRcode

What’s in the app?

The app consists of 3 parts: Home, Resources, and Get Help.
The Home screen provides quick access to the WUSD Calendar, Your Classroom LMS, and Web Mail as well as an explanation of the purpose of the app.

home        About

On the Resources Screen you will find links to the tech ready team blog, the new STEM units that are currently being created, the curriculum maps,Resources as well as a link to the My Learning Plan website.  On the bottom of the Resources Screen you can swipe across to access the different WUSD Social Media:  WUSD Facebook, Tech Ready Facebook, and the Tech Dog Twitter Page.

Probably the most useful portion of the app is the Get Help page.  This page gives you the option to report a computer or network problem and turn in a ticket to the help desk via an online form.  In addition there is a form for requesting help with technology integration issues which I will receive.  At the bottom of the page is the link to the technology resources page on www.wusd.us where you can find answers to your technology questions.

Gethelp

How do I get the app on my device?

It’s very simple to place this app on your device or tablet.  Simply navigate to the site mentioned above http://wusd.app.appery.io.  Once you have the app open in your browser you can add this web app to the home screen of your device by finding the “Add to Home Screen” icon.  When you open this app directly from your home screen you will notice that it is no longer running inside a browser, but as a separate app.

Snagit

Snagit OneClick Icon

Snagit – If “Pictures are Worth a Thousand Words”, Screencasts Must be Worth a Million!

What makes a screencast such a powerful tool?  This emerging tool has tremendous benefits and potential for both teachers and students.  Not only can it facilitate student learning, it empowers both teachers and students as creators of digital content,  a fundamental skill in the 21st century.   As students transition from consumers of digital content to creators of digital content, they take greater ownership of their learning, increasing participation, and motivation.

Whiteriver Unified School District has made Snagit accessible to teachers.  The capture button is always available on the edge of their screen for quick and easy access.  Once a screencast is produced, it can be saved, edited, and shared through e-mail or the web.  Here is a few ways of how it can be used by teachers and students.

How Might Teachers Use Snagit?

Demonstrations – Teachers can create a video to describe a step by step process or explain a concept such as, creating a digital story, a science concept or finding a solution to a math problem.

Presentations – Teacher can use Snagit to capture content  to create engaging multimedia presentations that can be used in class or uploaded to their online class.

Having computer problems? Teachers can quickly and easily capture an image with the error message to show exactly what is happening on their computer screen and then email it to Technical Support or the IT Department.

How Might Students Use Snagit?

 To Foster Learning – Screencasts can be watched anytime, anywhere and can be paused or watch over and over.  It canhelp students learn how to use their time efficiently and also help them catch up on any missed sessions.

Student Projects – Students can capture online resources for research projects, web pages, and segments of videos.  They can highlight text and take notes within the capture resource.  Snagit can also be used to document the bibliography information and will even remember the URL to where it was taken from.

Showcasing – Students can show their work such as projects, presentations and strategies to problems to their teachers, peers, and to their parents.

For an introductory video on how to use Snagit to capture an image click on:  Introduction to Snagit Video

For more educational benefits and examples of  screencast read the Edublog, Screencasts Turn Students into Digital Teachers by Katy Scott.

Moodle Roundup: A New Version is Coming to WUSD!

Moodle RoundupThe Learn Moodle MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) for teachers has officially started this week, and I’ve been learning lots about the new version of Moodle (2.5) that will be installed in the near future at WUSD.

There are over 7500 teachers from around the globe taking the class right now, including some from such exotic places as Whiteriver, Canyon Day, and Alchesay.  You can still register for the class and participate even though it has officially started.  The forums in the class are a great place to ask questions and get answers quickly (I’ve been taking full advantage.)

  •  I’ve uploaded about 30 new videos and a couple of “books” of information for new teachers from the Learn Moodle Course.  You can access these materials through the Tech Resource Page and at the direct link here.  (Scroll down to find all of the videos).
  •  Did I mention we will be upgrading our Online Classrooms (Moodle) in the near future?  Here are some of the new features you might like about the new version:
    • You can drag and drop files onto your page to simplify the uploading process.
    • It’s a simpler and cleaner interface for beginners with not as much scrolling involved.
    • More types and options for assignments.
    • It works well with the ipad and other tablets.  The page resizes based on the size of the screen you’re using.
    • It includes “badges” with which you can reward students when they’ve accomplished or completed a task.
  • The STEM units the Tech Ready Team is working on are being created in the new version of Moodle. The image below is a screen shot of the 3rd grade Cycles of Life Unit.

    3rd Grade STEM Unit displayed on an iPad.

    3rd Grade STEM Unit displayed on an iPad.