Edtech Updates

The rollout of Google Apps for Education is underway! Six schools were selected for the district soft launch this school year, which began on May 12. Woodlawn, Forest Park, George, Lewis, Llewellyn, and Jackson were selected based on their prior experience using Google Apps and their ability to partner in developing processes for a district-wide rollout. The Google Apps project team will be working with these schools through the spring and summer with a district-wide launch planned for the fall. Over the summer the Google Apps team will also be working on automated account provisioning, account management, and single sign-on in preparation for a district-wide launch. Google Apps accounts will be created for all instructional staff in August with student accounts being created after the start of school.

A steering committee has been formed to guide the direction of the project and the Google Apps district domain <apps4pps.net>. The team has created a project blog to provide updates on the Google implementation. The IT purchasing standards have also been updated to reflect the current Chromebook offerings. Schools will now be able to purchase both Samsung Series 3 and Dell Chromebook 11! Please feel free contact Brett Luelling directly with any questions.

Brett Luelling, Director, IT Systems Development & Integration
x63937   bluelling@pps.net


Class DoJo is a free classroom management and parent engagement tool. In November IT blocked access on the PPS Network to the Class DoJo website due to privacy concerns and asked teachers to stop using this service. Knowing what a valuable service Class DoJo provides to many teachers across the district, IT spent the past several months working with Class DoJo to put the necessary data protections in place to ensure our teachers, students, and parents could safely use this service. We now have a contract in place with Class DoJo that contains the required FERPA language and helps safeguard our students’ information.

As of today (May 28) Class DoJo has been unblocked on the PPS network and teachers may begin using the service again.  Additionally, the ClassDojo Team is more than happy to assist teachers in setting up a free account athttp://www.classdojo.com.  To chat with them, please email: hello@classdojo.com. To see ideas on how you can start using ClassDojo in your classroom, try visiting their forum: http://community.classdojo.com for great tips!

Josh Klein, Chief Information Officer
x63050, jklein@pps.net


The Office of Teaching & Learning is looking for teacher teams to participate in a summer project to develop and adapt uses of technology, implement innovative practices, and/or craft open educational resources (OER) for student learning. We invite teams of 2-4 teachers serving students in grades 4-8 to submit applications to participate.

Participation will require attendance at a two-day Culturally-relevant Curriculum Curation and Creation Camp, July 24 – 25, for which teachers will be compensated through a personalized learning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This curriculum camp will afford teachers the opportunity to learn about technologies and innovative classroom practices, work together with colleagues from other schools, and design an instructional project to be implemented and studied during the first quarter of the school year.

Teachers will also be compensated for additional time spent developing, implementing, documenting, and evaluating the project (beyond the regular work day/year). A final report on the project will be due after the end of the first quarter of the 2014-15 school year.

Interested teacher teams must submit an application by June 13, 2014.

Andrew Wheeler, Senior Project Manager, Office of Teaching & Learning
x63334   wheeler@pps.net


#edtech Reflections for Preservice Teachers

Here’s an excellent Q&A with a pre-service teacher that focuses on the use of technology in the classroom. Bottom line: Think about the skills we want students to master and the learning environment we want to create first.

October is Connected Educators Month!

This year’s event will have a special emphasis on helping districts promote and integrate online social learning in their formal professional development.

Other goals include:

  • Getting more educators “connected” (to each other)
  • Deepening and sustaining learning of those already connected
  • Stimulating and supporting collaboration and innovation in professional development.

The themes for this year’s event are:

  • Making It Count: Integrating Social Learning Into Formal PD
  • Connected Leadership
  • Personalized Learning
  • Innovating STEM and Literacy
  • From Connection to Collaboration
  • 21st Century Classroom Management

Check out these Connected Educators Links:

Check Out Tinker Camp!

Tinker Camp
Check availability here: http://tinkercamp.org/availability.php

This is an awesome camp opportunity for kids aged 8 to 12. Discovery and experimentation includes making mistakes, but so often trial and error aren’t a part of our modern classroom. Schools often miss teaching the value of problem solving, and kids are inadvertently taught to internalize failure. That’s what Tinker Camp is all about, help kids find the joy in success and failure, and hopefully in the process, create a life-long love for problem-solving and experimentation in every tinker.

Quick Facts About Tinker Camp:

  • Three week-long summer sessions in 2013: July 8-12, 15-19 and 22-26.
  • Sessions are for children aged 8-12 (who will be going into 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th in 2013/2014 school year).
  • The cost for the camp is $125 per child plus a $25 materials fee.
  • Kids may come at 8:00 and leave at 1:00 for a $25 fee.
  • We offer scholarships, waivers and financial assistance.
  • Children should bring a lunch or snack.
  • There is a maximum of 20 spots available for each session.
  • Children (based on ability) may be instructed on the proper use of power tools, and sharp cutting tools.
  • Children will be allowed to use other hand tools, like saws, drills, etc.
  • All children will have great time!