Build Your Own Interactives

Build Your Own Interactives

In many schools, especially at the elementary level, it is common for students to be using tech for core skill building. For example, they might be using Zearn to go through math practice at a level that is personalized based on pre-assessment results. This can be beneficial, but some research suggests that so-called drill and kill types of platforms might not be best and may even have negative effects on student learning. See this research page from Liz Kolb’s Triple E Framework site for more on that

I also believe that students can be doing much more than practice problems with the devices they are using. So, I have been exploring ways to design activities that involve application of learning and using tech to build or create based on the concepts being taught. This may sound a bit daunting, but here are two examples that are fairly simple to set up:

  1. Google Slides Place Value Interactive. You can add background elements, like a cartoon field, that won’t move by editing the Slide Master (how to edit Slide Master in Google Slides). When students load the link, they can make a copy, or teachers can assign it through Classroom as a copy for each student. Then they interact and build.
  2. Google Doc Array and Area Activity. This prompts students to build some simple layouts in Geogebra and then asks questions that farmers would actually have to ask when building a fence. Like in the previous activity, students need to apply their understanding. They also have links to reference in case they need it (e.g. perimeter and area).

These are not the most polished or amazing, but they incorporate some complex thinking and some personal interaction as well. Take a look, make copies for yourself, and modify as you see fit. Please share any ideas or questions with us so we can learn from you as well.

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MDE is Offering Free Minecraft Licenses for up to 300,000 Students

MDE is Offering Free Minecraft Licenses for up to 300,000 Students

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is excited to announce a partnership with Microsoft EDU to provide 150,000 to 300,000 free student licenses for the Minecraft Education Edition (M:EE) for one year. This version of the popular open world game, Minecraft, is specifically designed for education, containing features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom or after-school program setting. This program aligns to the MDE’s Top 10 in 10 Strategic Plan by enhancing access to effective technology tools that support deeper and personalized learning. The free licenses can be deployed in both Microsoft enabled districts, as well as Google classroom districts.

A competitive application process has been developed to identify the greatest impact of the program, as well as to support the distribution and deployment of these licenses. The application can be found at https://fs27.formsite.com/t2MTj3/form2/index.html.

The grant application is due no later than January 8, 2018. All local education agencies, intermediate school districts, public school academies, and career tech centers are eligible to apply for the M:EE licenses.

For more information regarding the application process please see http://www.techplan.org/rdi/minecraft/. If you have any questions please email or call Amanda Stoel (stoela@michigan.gov), Department Analyst in the Educational Technology Unit with the Office of P-20 Data and Information Management at (517) 241-3629.

Source: MDE Memorandum – Minecraft Licensing Application 

Accessible Materials Made Right workshop to be held at Berrien RESA!

Accessible Materials Made Right workshop to be held at Berrien RESA!

Accessible Materials Made Right is a regional workshop intended to help equip participants with the skills and understanding needed to begin creating accessible materials and to train others to do likewise. Topics include:

  • Why accessibility matters
  • Principles and components of accessibility in Word, Acrobat, and PowerPoint
  • Creating accessible material from the start

To help facilitate the learning process and guide teams toward effective implementation, the workshop has been split into three non-consecutive days. Participants are expected to attend all three days. The workshop alternates between lecture, hands-on practice, and group discussion. Upon completion, everyone will have had hands-on practice creating basic-level accessible:

  • Word documents
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • PDFs

Who should attend?
Intermediate school district teams, or local district teams, of at least two people who are responsible for, and will be, training others on the creation and remediation of accessible materials on publicly facing websites are invited to apply.  Please refer to the Accessible Materials Made Right Information Guidefor guidance on selecting a team.

When and where is the training?
Location: Berrien RESA
Dates: January 11, February 2, and February 15
Interested teams must first submit an application.  Successful applicants will receive registration information upon acceptance of the application.
Application deadline: December 15

For more information, please see the Accessible Materials Made RightInformation Guide. Questions can be directed to accessibility@altshift.education

Got a great idea? Slam It!

Got a great idea? Slam It!

The Idea Slam ’18, sponsored by the METS Group and REMC Association of Michigan, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7 from 7:00 – 10:00pm.
The Idea Slam is a fast-paced “pitch fest” and networking event for educators. Selected projects will be presented and attendees will vote on their favorite ideas. The winning project will receive a minimum of $1,500 towards their innovative educational idea.
The rest of the evening is an informal meet-up with fun conversations and delicious offerings from the new Downtown Grand Rapids venue, the Knickerbocker, owned by New Holland Brewing Company.
What makes the Idea Slam possible and successful?
YOUR IDEAS! Submit a proposal by clicking the link below. If chosen as a finalist you will be assigned a pitch coach to help you prepare for the event.
Idea Slam Pitch Rubric

Please contact the METS group at metsgroupmi@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Pitch proposals are due February 9, 2018 at midnight.

REMC Association Communications Job Posting

The REMC Association is seeking to contract with an individual to assist with developing communication/marketing resources focused on Association supported projects and activities. These resources will be in formats suitable for social media, newsletters, inclusion in email, etc.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Post items to various social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook
  • Write posts or articles highlighting a REMC project for the MACUL Community blog and other blogs or newsletters
  • Subscribe to and monitor educational and leadership blogs, twitter accounts, YouTube, and other social media from Michigan and national organizations to find relevant tie-ins to existing REMC projects for the purpose of “mining” and sharing and sharing the best REMC resources.  
  • Work with the Association’s public relations firm on the drafting and posting process as well as maintaining the organization image/messaging
  • Send information to be shared publicly to the Executive Director for review
  • Create a presence/knowledge of REMC offerings (indiv. and state) and help with communicating these out through social media (e.g. when a local REMC has an event.)
  • Expand REMC participation in Twitter chats by supplying local REMCs with a guide outlining Twitter chat expectations, tips and a list of chats in which to participate. Coordinate/lead Twitter chats (within existing chats)
  • May be asked to provide trainings to REMC Directors on implementing these same social media skills and tools to help with our REMC/ISD marketing to local constituents.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Background in education
  • Experience with public relations/marketing/communications
  • Established social media presence
  • REMC Association awareness and understanding
  • Independent learner
  • Must be motivated and able to work with minimal supervision
  • Strong verbal and written communication and organizational skills
  • Skillfully uses technology to accomplish work related tasks
  • Knowledgeable about and able to use social media aggregators/social network automation applications
  • Understand the role social media plays in outreach/messaging for the Association

Working Conditions and Compensation

  • Work 6 – 8 hours a week for the first six months. The number of hours required will be evaluated at the end of the first six months
  • Year one – Nov. 1 – June 30, 2018 – then depending on evaluation of need, become an annual contract, with options to renew on a yearly basis
  • The need for this position and the quality of the work will be reviewed annually by the REMC Association Executive Board
  • Home office environment. Selected candidate will provide the tools (computer, internet) and resources/supplies.
  • Contract amount: $20 per hour
  • Subscription to specific required tools will be provided to make posting to multiple sites easier/automatic
  • Reports to REMC Association Executive Director

Application Deadline: October 27, 2017

Applications should be submitted online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJzwK2RGs4NdtiQ_cprigjsYkkghC2oIAKGvQQT4RD0xhjkQ/viewform

Questions should be directed to Sue Schwartz, Executive Director, sueschwartz@remc.org

Simple Ways to Represent Thinking

Simple Ways to Represent Thinking

I just want to take a moment to share a couple tools and ideas for representing thinking. No matter what we teach or facilitate, we want ideas and understanding to be shared. The tools described below provide options for people to show what’s swirling in their minds. Given the visual options involved, these platforms can be used with non-linguistic strategies, modelling, and more. They can also be used across grade levels and subject areas. Here is a breakdown:

  1. AWW App – A whiteboard tool on which you can add text, shapes, drawings, images and more. There are options for real-time collaboration and adding additional pages. You can export the finished product without creating an account, or you can register to build a library. See my example at the bottom of this post.
  2. AutoDraw – This is a Google Experiment, and it has many similar features to the AWW App. It does not support collaboration, but it is simpler. You can also choose a drawing option that will predict what you are trying to draw. The predicted options show on the top toolbar for you to select.

There are other options out there (Google Drawings is a notable one), but these are less known and have some useful features. Take a few minute to try them out. Explore the menus for options and think about how you might use them in an upcoming lesson or meeting.

Sample AwwIce formations on beach with people

Student Technology Showcase @ The Capitol

Student Technology Showcase @ The Capitol

We are looking forward to you and your students joining us again for the 2017 Student Technology Showcase (STS) at the Capitol on December 6, 2017. Each year, the STS affords students the opportunity to demonstrate innovative uses of technology for learning.  The STS is consistently attended by legislators, guests, media members, and for the first time ever the Governor of Michigan attended last years showcase.

This year’s STS at the Capitol is supported by MACUL, AT&T, and Michigan Virtual. This support has allowed the showcase to remain one of the premier student showcase events in the U.S.

You are invited to bring a team of up to four students to demonstrate how they are applying technology in their learning.  Students are expected to prepare professional presentations that will be on display during one of three sessions. While each session lasts roughly 90 minutes, these sessions are arranged around capitol logistics. We will do our best to accommodate requests for specific sessions.

In an effort to provide the opportunity for more schools to participate, only up to one team per school and two teams per district will be accepted.

Deadline for registration is November 4, 2017.

When you register your team you MUST provide a description of the project. A team from MACUL will review your project description and determine whether your team is accepted for the showcase. Team acceptance will no longer be based on a first come/first served basis.  Therefore we strongly suggest that you take time to create a project description that clearly explains how technology impacts your students’ learning.

Each team will be provided an eight-foot table for presentations and will have access to wireless internet. Also, teams will be provided with commemorative t-shirts, snacks, parking passes, and a certificate of participation.

In previous years students have demonstrated everything from the use of KidPix (an elementary drawing program) to students who are creating computer apps for school use.

Visit http://sts.macul.org/ to register, more information and pictures from last year’s showcase.