Monday, January 11, 2016

Virtual Learning Snow Days

Staying Warm During a Snow Day

Virtual Learning Snow Days?

This year, MSD of Steuben County has been approved to participate in virtual learning snow days. That means that we are preparing to allow students to still participate in school even if it is canceled due to severe weather. This is the the first year that MSD of Steuben County is considered a full 1:1 technology school district. The opportunity to provide a quality learning experience at home is ultimately our goal, and the availability of our digital resources makes it even more possible.

Training Opportunities


iPads

To get prepared, I've been working all week with kindergarten through second grade teachers as this is the first year that their students have devices. They have certainly rose to the challenge as adding devices to the classroom creates a new dynamic and mindset while teaching. They are utilizing digital tools in a meaningful manner by provide opportunities for students to participate in a blended learning environment and prioritize the expression of learning through digital tools. I'm very proud of the progress they have made this year.

One of our biggest challenges is providing for the needs of students without Internet access at home. In order to do this on an iPad, MSD of Steuben County will be utilizing the Google Drive app. Teachers can easily share digital content through Google Drive so that it is all in one convenient location. Students can then set each document/video for offline use. This will allow students without Internet to participate. At first glance, this may not seem like a difficult task, but training kindergarten students to know the location of shared learning materials in Google Drive takes time. I recommend the staff practice this over the next few weeks so that students get comfortable navigating in Google Drive.

It was great to discuss strategies, digital tools, and lesson plans throughout the training sessions. If you participated or are just curious as to what was covered, my presentation slides is shared below.

Chromebooks

The process of providing learning opportunities offline is not as complicated for Chromebook users. As long as the teacher is using Google Classroom and students click on the the assignment materials while connected to the Internet, all items needed will be saved in each student's Classroom folder in Google Drive. 

Third through fifth grade teachers will be receiving training in the near future. It was deemed necessary due to this being the first year that the teachers and students are using Chromebooks in those grades. We will focus on Google Classroom, creating assignments, and ensuring students have all learning materials saved prior to heading home with their device. We will also explore digital tools that do not require Internet access since much of what is available on a Chromebook requires it. I look forward to the opportunity to work with them.  

Online Training

In December, I developed online training modules for virtual learning preparation so that teachers could participate at their own convenience. Participation by MSD of Steuben County staff are entitled to professional growth points for participation in online training modules. I built each module through Google Forms and like the format as I set it up to break down each portion on a separate page. The virtual learning training materials are just the beginning of larger plans that I'm making to create more online opportunities for teachers to receive training and professional growth points at their own pace. 

Click to view courses available

Community Communication

The community has much at stake as students will be coming home with devices and completing work from home. Our students in high school and middle school already take their devices home, but our elementary students do not. The challenge primarily lies with our elementary students as working with devices from home is not common at this point in time. Also, how students utilize devices is slightly different at home as not all students have Internet access. To help prepare the community, I built a resource site with guides on how to participate with the Chromebook and iPad as well as a few of the basic tools students use each day.

Click to view resources