Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Google Apps for Education Now Available to All Staff and Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade 2013, April 3
Students may login to our Google Apps for Education setup at http://docs.norridge80.net using the username and login account information supplied by their teacher.
Through Google Apps for Education students can:
- send email to any @norridge80.net email address
- receive email from any @norridge80.net email address
- create word processing documents *
- create spread sheet documents *
- create slide show presentations *
- create forms *
- create drawings *
- save files into their Google Drive space (much like the U drive but accessible from home and school)
- create a personal web site/blog
- use Google Calendar to create calendars, schedules, and reminders
- add more free web based apps from a wide selection of Google app offerings
Google Apps for Education integrates with Edmodo. Documents that you have created in Google Docs can be shared within your Edmodo Groups.
* all of these file types are created using Google's web based tools (nothing to install), saved into the cloud (accessible from home and school), and easily shared with other @norridge80.net accounts. It is common in schools that students use the document share feature to turn in assignments to teachers.
Eisenhower Public Library Offers Free EBooks 2013, January 10
All District 80 students and teachers are eligible for a free public library card from Eisenhower Public Library in Harwood Heights. That library card allows you access to books and movies that can be checked out from the library as always, but Eisenhower now offers digital checkout for EBooks and multimedia available through their MediaOnDemand system.
Technology Deployment for 2012-2013 School Year 2012, November 5
A summary of this year's tech deployment is as follows:
We have slightly over 400 computing devices (desktops, laptops, tablets) between the two schools. The split is approximately even. Of those ~400 devices a little more than 25 are personal property of teachers or are owned by external organizations.
Each school has a stationary lab consisting of 30 laptop computers purchased this year. These labs are shared by all grade levels.
Each school has multiple mobile labs with laptops:
Leigh - 2 mobile labs with 10 Windows laptops on each
Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 5 Windows laptops
Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 10 Mac laptops
Leigh - 1 mobile lab with 5 Mac laptops
Giles - 2 mobile labs with 10 Windows laptops on each
Giles - 1 mobile lab with 5 Windows laptops
Giles - 1 mobile lab with 15 Mac laptops
Each school has an iPad mobile lab with 28 iPads.
Each K-5 classroom has at least 2 computers in the room full time. Each grade 6-8 classroom has at least one computer in the room full time. Each office is outfitted as needed with, in general, each office staff member having their own workstation (laptop or desktop computer).
A small number of laptops are also available from each library for staff checkout. However, this offering will most likely be phased out in the future. The newer equipment is consistently checked out by the same individuals and isn't shared as originally envisioned. This isn't a problem in itself, but greatly speaks to the notion that our staff/classrooms want more equipment and once staff have the equipment it is used so much that they have a hard time letting it go.
The district now has an interactive white board, either s SmartBoard or MimioTeach system, in almost every classroom. The split is roughly even between the two schools. The interactive white boards allow a classroom with even a single computer to involve the whole class in technology usage.
Wired network access is available in every classroom and office. Wireless network access is available in almost all locations with 52 wireless access points district-wide. The entire internal network is setup for up to 1000mbps on every port (gigabit switched networking). Total available Internet bandwidth available is 80+mbps. Current Internet bandwidth utilization runs at an average that is consistently less than 10% of available bandwidth. We do have headroom for growth in this area.
We currently have 50 printers in use district-wide at this time. The bulk of these are network high speed black and white laser printers, but the most popular are the networked color laser printers. Our eye on the future has us looking at ways to do less printing, so the count of available printers should decline over a period of years as printing becomes less essential. Myself as well as Mr. Leiby, Mr. Bergholtz, and Ms. Ban will be visiting a school that has gone mostly paperless to see what that looks like later this school year.
We now have a dozen Lego Robotics kits at each school used in conjunction with a new STEM (Science Technolgoy Engineering and Math) course for junior high students. The Lego Robotics kits introduce kids to hands on probem solving, real life job choices, and an introduction to visual programming through Lego kits that are complete with motors, sensors, and specially designed parts/pieces and software.
The district maintains in-house physical and virtual servers to handle a variety of tasks including DNS, DHCP, Active Directory, file sharing, end user station management, web services for www and ftp, security services, video on demand, and more. Other servers, located in the cloud, are utilized for such services as the student information system, library management, and email. Subscription web-based services include our work order system and our board packet management system.
400 computing devices may seem like a fair number (a slightly over 2:1 student to device ratio), but what we are seeing is that a large portion of available end user devices in classrooms are at the age where they need to be phased out and classes are wanting more hands on time especially with mobile technologies (laptops/tablets). Ideally we need to have a full mobile lab (with 30 stations) for each grade level at each school and eventually a personal computing device for each junior high student to have with them all day every day.
Infrastructure is in good shape, but can't be ignored. Yearly maintenance and planned upgrades for the infrastructure must continue. However, the big challenge that needs to be tackled is to get more end user devices (laptops and tablets) into the hands of the teachers and students. District administration is looking into existing budget, potential grants, and other fund raisers.
Free iPad Apps 2012, August 31
This is an updated list of 200 free iPad apps I've put together. Many apps are targeted at developing math or reading skills for grades K-3, but there are some other things mixed in (art, music, etc.). Click here to download the list.
If your child receives free school lunches you may qualify for Comcast's Internet Essentials program. This program includes $9.95 a month Internet, an option for a laptop at $149, and free training.
What happens when a guy starts making video clips to help a distant relative learn some math skills? In the case of Salman Khan millions of dollars are given to him so that he can focus on making more. The Khan Academy is not an academy in the traditional sense, but rather a web site with a bit over 3000 instructional video clips. These video clips can help students with anything from addition to chemistry to microeconomics. The site has become hugely popular and has what seem to be universally positive reviews. Be sure to check it out when you have a chance at http://www.khanacademy.org/
To think about how you might use Khan Academy in your classroom you might consider what is being referred to as "flipped learning". What is "flipped learning"? From http://blog.k12.com/2011/10/05/transforming-way-we-learn-what-does-teacher-tomorrow-look (back when Khan Academy only had a bit over 2000 videos): "In flipped learning, students watch short, recorded lectures (often quite entertaining) on their own time, in place of homework. Students can review the videos as often as needed in order to understand difficult concepts, and class time (virtual or not) can then be used to work on collaborative projects and asking questions. The teacher is then able to troubleshoot, answer questions, and help students to apply what they have learned."
The district technology peer review document was approved by ISBE on June 28, 2011. This document covers: Fall 2011 up to Summer 2014.
First Day of School