TIES Learning and Technology Newsletter - November 2015

November 2015

TIES Learning and Technology Newsletter banner

Happy November! There are only two weeks until Thanksgiving and about four weeks to go until the TIES 2015 Conference: Breaking Through. We hope you have enjoyed a productive fall and start of your school year. In this issue we have some professional development opportunities for you to consider along with some great resources for your classroom. See you in December at the TIES 2015 Conference! 

Saturday Classes

There are still spots available in for upcoming Saturday classes at TIES! Course descriptions can be found here. Register at http://keepcertified.ties.k12.mn.us/ or contact Dorothy Harmon at dorothy.harmon@ties.k12.mn.us. Be sure to join the waitlist if the class is full. 

Saturday, November 21

  • Creativity Through Makerspaces
  • Going Google on the iPad
  • Swimming in SAMR
  • Digital Resources for Online and Blended Courses
  • Differentiation using Technology
  • Google Forms for Assessment
  • iCreate
  • Google Classroom

TIES 2015: Breaking Through: Transforming Pedagogy with Technology

TIES 2015 - Breaking Through: Transforming Pedagogy with Technology
Preconference Workshops December 12-13, 2015
Conference December 14-15, 2015

Join us at TIES 2015 where we will be “Breaking Through” with education technology professional development. Learn the way you learn best in one of these exciting formats. 

  • Breakout Sessions
    - Explore and Create (*NEW*): Hands-on exploration and creation of content in 90-minute sessions
    - IGNITE: Fast-paced sessions with four presenters who each have eight minutes to share
    - Posters: Engage with presenters in station-style presentations
    - Listen and Learn: Primarily one-way interaction in traditional 50-minute sessions
  • Playground
    - Get hands-on experience with Coding, Making, STEAM, and Creativity, explore the latest devices and trends, and bring ideas and inspiration back to school
  • Seminars
    - Leaders Breaking Through: Leadership Seminar is planned and facilitated by George Couros for school and district leaders creating innovative change.
    - Superintendent Seminar is for you? (district superintendents and their leadership partners to collaboratively learn about innovation and draft a plan to make a breakthrough. (audience is broader than just supts so I want to change the voice)
  • Exhibit Hall
    - Come visit our vendors – more than 100 – who are excited to see you!
  • Virtual Conference (linked)
    - Unable to attend the conference in person? Experience the conference from near or far when you register for our Virtual Conference! The $160 registration fee gives you access to watch both keynote presentations and 10 breakout sessions.

Register online at http://ties2015.ties.k12.mn.us/. Explore the complete conference program at http://ties2015.sched.org/


Experiencing a Substitute Teacher Shortage

School districts and independent schools around the state are struggling to find substitute teachers to give teachers release time for professional development. The Star Tribune recently published an article about how some Minnesota schools are trying to manage the sub shortage. Click the link below to see the full article.
Some MN High Schools Trying to Go Without Subs

Breakout EDU

Breakout EDU is a revolutionary new product that allows teachers to bring gaming into their classrooms in a meaningful way. Each game centers around the Breakout EDU box, which can be purchased directly from Breakout EDU, or you can build your own with the open source instructions provided. The players (students or adults) are given a set amount of time to open the box, using a combination of physical and online puzzles. Breakout EDU gets students out of their seats using collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity to open the box. There is a Breakout EDU store where you can take advantage of already created games (many of which are free) or find inspiration to create your own game.  

Our TIES Learning and Technology team will be attending the Midwest Google Summit where we will participate in a Breakout EDU session. We will report back on the many ways this can be used in classes in our next newsletter. For more information visit http://www.breakoutedu.com/.

Our Favorite Things

The Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) offers a host of information and learning resources for Minnesota students and teachers. Included on ELM are databases of full print articles from journals, magazines, newspapers, a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica, electronic books, and much more. 

One of our ELM favorite tools is the Research Project Calculator (RPC). This is a free tool that helps students with projects of any type that involve research. All the student needs to do is complete a brief form describing the project, input the date it is due, and the RPC will lay out the project with steps based on the research process. The tool will also guide the student with tips on developing a thesis, how much time to spend on each step of the research based on the due date, and will give links to dependable information resources for research. Try it for yourself at https://rpc.elm4you.org/

CS Education Week - Hour of Code

Computer Science Education week is coming up on December 13-17! In honor of the event, many schools around the globe will be participating in Hour of Code, a “one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics” (www.hourofcode.com/us). 

The Hour of Code website features one-hour tutorials for coders of any age and ability, from helping Anna and Elsa navigate the ice using simple Scratch-like commands involving movement and angles, to RPG-style games teaching the basics of Javascript, to “unplugged” coding for classrooms with limited network access. Participating is easy, and the program features everything from lesson plans to newsletters for parents and school administrators highlighting the benefits of participating in Hour of Code. Check out the program and their extensive resource collection at https://code.org/educate


‘Tis the Season 

The crisp fall air has finally arrived, leaves have fallen from the trees, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Be prepared with a great lesson on the History of Thanksgiving to share with your students. This site includes articles, videos, interactives, and pictures that you can easily use with your students. Learn about everything from the history of the holiday to the Thanksgiving football game traditions. There is something for everyone!

TIES Review: New Google Forms (by Troy)

New Google Forms - Troy

I opened up Google Forms in my private Gmail account and it asked if I’d like to try out the new Forms. Like any geek, I clicked “of course!” My initial thought is that it’s a little clumsier but aligned with their new branding like in Google Classroom. Two big changes I’ve seen so far…

  1.  Theme (or lack of). Mostly you get color palettes and the ability to add images. No formatting of font or choice of a different one. As I mentioned, they’ve aligned the look to fit the look of Classroom, for better or worse. (move image…)
  2.  Saving responses in the Form vs. a Sheet. I know this isn’t new but they’ve changed it so the default is to save in the Form rather than a Sheet. 

I’ll also say that I’m not sold yet on the mobile interface (perhaps it’s just iOS) but I was using the timestamp question and with every field I have to switch to the numbers instead of the field defaulting. I know...First World problem. But you’re Google so make it work.

Overall, no change in functionality; it’s mostly a cosmetic upgrade. 
Rating: ⅗ ninjas. 


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