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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hey gang. I hope you had a great Christmas and wonderful New Year. I am looking for one or more students to contribute to the Moore County School’s Chromebooks in Education blog. 

This is a great opportunity to have your students' work seen by educators from across the country and their opinions heard by decision makers in Moore County. 

Excerpt from announcement: 
"Blog entries could range from describing a product you created in class, describing a teacher or teaching styles you think really work in the 1 to 1 classroom, or your reflections on how your school or classes have changed in the past 12 months since Chromebooks were handed out. If you are interested, email Mr. Herring at wherring@ncmcs.net with your idea and he will send you some examples from other students and help you develop your idea."

Thanks in advance for helping me spread the word about how great of a job you are all doing for Union Pines High School students

Friday, December 12, 2014

Postponing December Training

Good morning and happy Friday

Item 1:

I wanted to reiterate an email I sent out the other day informing you all that I am postponing the trainings scheduled for Wednesday the 17th. Many of you are busy with senior exams or tying up lose ends before the break. I will be helping to run the Chromeboook help desk since Mitzi will be temporarily ousted from the Media Center. 

Item 2:

If your students have trouble with their chromebooks next week please send them to the future home of the help desk outside the attendance office. Mitzi will be using that nice set up Ms. Lea built to offer the help. Mitzi has sent an email to everyone asking you to tell kids to turn in their laptops with bad mice now so we don't have issues that compromise testing after break. 

Item 3: 

You will likely encounter students soon that will only have limited access to the internet. These students were flagged by the county as abusing some or several aspects of our acceptable use guidelines. Students will have access to Google Apps (Docs, Movenote, Picktochart, Lucid, etc..) and some site predetermined to be educational by IT. This is NOT a tech issue that should be sent to the help desk. This is a sentence they are serving for a period to be determined by Ms. Lea and the administrative team. If you need a certain site opened to one of these students let me know a day or two (preferred) ahead of time and I can request it be allowed for the student.

Item 4:

As you have seen, it has taken some time but the district and our school are serious about providing powerful tools to our students but also that they use them in productive and appropriate ways. We (I) need to do a better of preaching and teaching digital citizenship to our students. If there is a day that I can talk to one or more of your courses to (give you a little extra planning time?) talk to them about behavior in digital spaces please shoot me an email and we'll get it on the calendar.


Image attribution

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hey friends,
I hope you had a great and restful holiday weekend. Wednesday of this week is our next training during planning periods. I have some really neat tools to show you this time.

First up is Zaption. Do you ever wonder if kids are getting anything out of an assigned video? Zaption will make sure they are. Zaption allows you to to 1) embed questions, illustrations, etc… into YouTube videos, 2) it gives detailed diagnostics for each student that completes your video.

The second round of Flubaroo (2nd and 4th). Flubaroo will grade, analyze and report your students' work on any M/C, T/F, Scale, Matrix, etc... question (sorry, no essays or short answer). Participants will leave with knowledge (and a handout) of how to design a test/quiz in Forms, add the Flubaroo script to a spreadsheet, and grade student responses.

The introduction to Zaption will be 30 minutes into each block. Flubaroo will be the last 30 minutes of 2nd and 4th only.

Have a great day & let me know how I can help you teach or plan this month.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Our NCTies Lineup Is Set!

Thanks to everyone that expressed interest in the NCTies opportunity. At this point on entries are determined. The English, Social Studies, and Administrative teams will be represented by Amy Parsons, Jeremy Blake, and Kate Faw respectively. I'm really excited about this team and I know they are too. It is rare in our profession to step away and be with coworkers in a collaborative setting. I am sure that this team will bring back great skills and insights to help us all do our work that much better. Don't hesitate to ask them or myself to share what we have learned  when we return. If we are lucky enough to send I team next year I hope to see an email from you!

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NC TIES CONFERENCE 2015 **UP TO THREE GO FOR FREE***

NC TIES is by far the largest teacher tech convention in the North Carolina. Thousands of teachers, coaches, administrators, and media specialists will descend upon the Raleigh Convention March 5 & 6th in 2015. YOU CAN BE ONE OF THEM AND ATTEND FOR FREE. 

Ms. Lea has very graciously offered to provide funds for up to 3 Union Pines High School teachers to join the dozens of Moore County Schools teachers already registered for the  the 2015 NC TIES conference. That offer includes the cost of registration, accommodations, substitute teacher, travel and food (food and travel are based on county established expense sheets). Please understand that the offer comes in the context of very tight budgets everywhere. This conference is a priority for administrators all over the state. The expectation is that you will come back and become resources for the whole staff for years to come.

In 2013 I was lucky enough to have my registration paid by my principal as a history teacher / Dept Chair. That conference opened my eyes to the emerging world beyond the silo of my classroom and my instructional comfort zone. I was exposed to the actual 21st century, information-based economy that my students would soon enter. As a direct result of the conference I was able to improve the relevance and quality of my instruction To better prepare them for that eventuality. I met the writers of SAS Curriculum Pathways lessons, Google for EDU creators, and other leaders in the arena of EduTech. I became a leader in my local LEA beyond that of a SS Department head to a member of the school and county based tech council ultimately ending up here at UPHS.

Why you should attend:
If you are still new to teaching I suggest you try to attend the conference to see where the field is going, make lasting connections with great teachers from around the state and nation, and find practices to bring back to your classrooms.

If you are a veteran teacher I would recommend you attend to expose yourself to the world outside your classroom treadmill. You need new ideas and whitespace to manipulate those ideas and strategies into your professional practice.

For anyone I would recommend you attend because this was the best professional development experience had in 11 years of teaching with the exception of National Boards and Master’s Degree.

To attend:
  1. Make sure you are available March 5-6th
  2. Contribute 1 article to the MCS Digital Blog Chromebooks in Education
  3. Participate in no less than 2 Stop Collaborate and Listen meetings
  4. Be willing to help your department and peers in the future by sharing your knowledge gained at the conference
  5. Contact me at wherring@ncmcs.net to get the ball rolling.

Remember that we only have a maximum of three spots for UP staff. Let me know if you are interested and can meet the expectations above.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tech 20 on Wednesday, November 12th

Twitter for Teachers and Educators

2nd (10:40) and 4th (2:20) Blocks
This session is applicable for all educators and administrators. In twenty minutes we will go over what Twitter is, why it is a valuable tool for any professional, and how to leverage Twitter to improve your instructional practices. This session looks at the platform as a tools for inter-professional communication, collaboration, research and support. Participants will leave with knowledge (and a handout) of how to sign up for an account, Tweet from their account, search for and follow colleagues from around the world, and engage in topical hashtag conversations.
Notes: This session is appropriate for all levels of technology users. You will need any device with internet access including: staff HP, iPad, personal laptop or smartphone. Devices will be available for those that forget.

Lesson Planning With SAMR:

2nd (11:15)) and 4th (3:00) Blocks
This session is appropriate for all staff involved with lesson design. Technology tools/skills in all most all curricular contexts are intended to replace less effective instructional methods or increase the rigor and relevance of the existing curriculum. It should not constitute an increase in the teacher's daily workload. SAMR is a simple construct for incremental technological integration advancement and thereby increase the teacher's impact over time. We will look discuss the four levels of the SAMR model generally, self-asses our current level of integration, and how to utilize the framework in lesson planning. Participants will leave with knowledge (and a handout) of how to slowly and intentionally increase the level of technical tool integration into their curriculums. 
Notes: This session is appropriate for all levels of technology users. You will not need devices however participants may choose to have tools to access their lesson plans. 

Lose the Scantrons

1st (8:45) and 3rd (12:15) Blocks 
This session is appropriate for all staff involved with teaching, testing, and assessing. Get off the paper copy habit, accommodate modifications and grade easier by testing with Google Forms. Google Forms is a part of the larger Google Suite. It was originally conceived as a survey collection and analysis tool (a capacity in which it serves very well) but through a simple tweak on the back end serves as a great test/quiz tool. That addition is a script called Flubaroo that is added to the student response spreadsheet. Flubaroo will grade, analyze and report your students' work on any M/C, T/F, Scale, Matrix, etc... question (sorry, no essays or short answer). Participants will leave with knowledge (and a handout) of how to design a test/quiz in Forms, add the Flubaroo script to a spreadsheet, and grade student responses. 
Notes: This session is appropriate for all levels of technology users that frequently use standard question formats to assess students' mastery. You will not need devices however participants may choose to have tools to follow along.

Stop, COLLABORATE, and Listen

1st (9:30) and 3rd (1:30) Blocks 
This participant driven session gives teachers already working to leverage technology for instruction to collaborate, share, and support one another. Participants will offer and solicit ideas for/from peers about upcoming lessons or units.
Notes: No devices required. Participants should come equipped with an upcoming lesson or project idea. Be ready to hear and offer suggestions to your peers.