Heading into the 2016-2017 school year, I could not be more proud of the work we are doing in District 109. With a focus on innovation, many of our teachers have spent time over the summer learning about ways to bring new ideas, technology, and tools into their classrooms. There has never been a better time to be an educator and never a better place to teach and learn than in District 109. Below is some of the important work that has taken place in District 109 to prepare for our best school year yet.
Project-Based Learning Workshop
From June 14-16, nearly 50 educators from our district took part in an intensive workshop to learn about the project-based learning framework and prepare to implement PBL units into many classrooms across the District. This is an important next step toward designing even more authentic, hands-on learning experiences to foster the development of the 4 Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity) among all of our learners.
Last spring, we awarded 100 staff members with an individual iPad grant to facilitate more creativity and productivity within their current roles. Over the summer, nearly 70 of those 1oo teachers participated in iPad Foundational Training to prepare to use their iPads once the school year begins. In addition to the 100 individual iPad recipients, we also awarded classroom sets of iPads to 10 3rd-8th grade teachers from across the District. We look forward to observing how a 2:1 learning environment supports the 4 Cs in these classrooms.
Teaching Digital Citizenship using Nearpod
This year, our District will use Nearpod, an interactive presentation tool, to deliver important lessons on digital citizenship. Each grade level will commit to teaching designated digital citizenship lessons produced by Common Sense Media so that we can ensure that all of our students have exposure on these important topics during their years in District 109. To see which lessons are being taught at which grade level, click here. Nearpod will be used in other subject areas as well to engage our learners and monitor their progress in the classroom. Last month, over 50 teachers in our District attended Nearpod Bootcamp, a 3-hour session to learn how Nearpod can be used to engage students in the classroom. To learn more about Nearpod, click here.
In a world where data is constantly collected by third-party applications, we made a bold attempt to review all apps used by our teachers to ensure that they meet legal guidelines and best practices. Because many of these apps require students to create logins and collect student data as part of that registration process, it is incumbent upon us to share that information with our students’ families. While this list is a work in progress, we are proud to be able to share it with our teachers and families to inform you about the tools we are using to provide creative and effective teaching and learning in all of our classrooms. To view all web-based and iOS apps that have been vetted by the Department of Teaching and Learning, click here.
It has been a busy summer in the Department of Teaching and Learning but certainly a productive one!