Instructional Technology for Employees

Implementing Digital Transformation

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    The Tuscaloosa City Schools Instructional Technology Team is committed to implementing the digital transformation by engaging, empowering, and assisting all teachers, students, and stakeholders to become lifelong learners who are prepared to thrive in the future. We were proud to tell our story of shared leadership at the ISTE 2017 Conference and at the ExploreEDU event hosted in November. 

     

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TCS Instructional Technology Blog

  • Navigating Video and Streaming

    Posted by Elizabeth Hancock on 1/12/2018

    It can be tricky to navigate around the benefits, challenges, concerns, and uncertainty associated with streaming and video. This document attempts to help schools use these tools well. It specifically addresses and makes suggestions related to 

    • Streaming,
    • Using video in instruction, and 
    • Student created video content. 

    Highlights include

    • Streaming can intefere with internet performance for all, so limit use to specific instructional needs. 
    • Use of commercial content services such as Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, and Spotify is not allowed. 
    • Video used in instruction should be part of learning targets, brief, and involve student engagement/feeback. 
    • Teachers and high school students have YouTube accounts as part of their TCS Google accounts. 
    • Student created videos are a great way to accomplish complex, creative, standards-based learning experiences.
    • Students should save videos they create to their Google Drive. 
    • When students turn in videos on Canvas, teachers can use a rubric to provide feedback and can have students complete peer reviews.
    • There are important considerations to address before student created videos are shared with a public audience. 

     

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  • Inaugural Technology Awards

    Posted by Elizabeth Hancock on 1/8/2018

    TCS Tech Award Winners 17-18

    This school year TCS initiated a new awards program to recognize innovative technology practice at all schools. Every school selected a school-level technology innovation award winner. The award recognizes teachers who use technology with their students in ways that meet the highest standards for technology integration. Mirroring the state’s Chiquita Marbury Technology Innovation Award, winners should

    • Exemplify innovation and creativity,
    • Engage in practices that have a meaningful impact on teaching and learning,
    • Be leaders in integrating technology,
    • Collaborate with others in integrating technology, and
    • Engage in continual learning about integrating technology.

    Every school technology award winner is identified at the bottom of this post and was recognized at the annual Apple Awards ceremony on December 18, 2017. During the ceremony, TCS also recognized three district-level winners. Each of these individuals received a name plaque, a trophy, and a check for $500 to spend on classroom resources. They will represent TCS in the Alabama Marbury Award competiton to be held in the spring of 2018. Here are the winners and quotes from their district award applications. 

    Elementary: Leigh Summerlin, Verner Elementary School, 2nd Grade

    "When thinking of how to include technology in the classroom, I try to let the students become the leaders of their own learning and to be the producers of the technology that we use. By that, I mean that I, the teacher, am not the main technology user during lessons. Students are given instruction beforehand and are guided throughout. The goal is for the students to be able to independently use technology and to embrace the ability to explore, make mistakes, and work through problems that arise. If students can troubleshoot technology, it is my belief that they can also “troubleshoot” in other areas of their lives, as well."

    Middle: Charlotte Burton, Westlawn Middle School, Math

    "The students always look forward to beginning class on their Chromebook, and these technologies enable them to do so in a manner that is relevant to instruction. They are also fond of the hassle-free saving options these apps offer.  Even on days where we create thinking maps, they can scan generated documents with their phones or web cam and upload it to their Google Drive just in case they lose the hard copy. This sense of security motivates the students to create quality work for digital storage."

    High: Jamesia Armistead, Central High School, Science

    "The impact of technology has definitely influenced every aspect of teaching and learning in my class. Students have the ability to
    collaborate on group projects using technology-based tools such as Google docs and other learning management systems. Data from student surveys have also influenced the direction in which I teach my class. According to one student the use of Kahoot, Piktochart and Quizlet has allowed students to freely ask questions, study the topic in depth, and engage in competition with each other in an environment that is safe for taking risks."

    School Technology Award Winners

    Arcadia, Sara Ogonowski

    Centeral Elementary, Katherine Baxter

    Central High, Jamesia Armistead

    Eastwood, Lutricia Powell-Peoples

    Northington, Shamikka Walker-Dudley

    Northridge, Marcia Irvin

    Oak Hill, Edward Love

    Oakdale, Kantrele King

    Bryant, Shelley Dorrill

    Rock Quarry Elementary, Stephanie Suttles

    Rock Quarry Middle, Laren Hammonds

    Skyland, Ericka Dudley

    Southview, Megan Coddington

    TASPA, Terri Waaland

    TCTA, Teresa Meissner

    TMSE, Lauren Craddock

    TMSM, Trent White

    University Place Elementary, Rachel Hollingsworth

    University Place Middle, Katelyn Kutz

    Verner, Leigh Summerlin

    Westlawn, Chralotte Burton

    Woodland Forrest, Rachel Goggins

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  • ExploreEDU: In Which TCS Shares Its Google Story

    Posted by Elizabeth Hancock on 11/17/2017

    On November 1 and 2 Tuscaloosa City Schools hosted an ExploreEDU event at TCTA. These events are held around the country to share and foster successful implemenation of Google Suite for Education and Chromebooks in schools. Our event was attended by technology leaders from around Alabama and co-hosted with Google for Education and CDW-G, our technology solutions partner. Event logistics were handled by a team led by Drew Swindle of Catalyst Exhibits. The full day session, which was repeated on the second day, included presentations by TCS teachers, a teacher-student panel, a tour of emerging tools, and collaboration to tackle implementation challenges. Keith Price and Amy Brown of CDW-G introduced various pathways districts can take towards full Google implementation. Rock Quarry Middle School ELA teacher Laren Hammonds shared how she uses Google Forms to take a quick pulse of the lives of her students, Google Docs to collaborate with colleagues, and Google Suite for creative student products. Bryant High School Social Studies teacher Melissa Ellis shared how she uses Google Sites for student portfolios, Google Voice for parent communication, and Google Drive as a digital notebook. Participants took a virtual tour of classes taught by Amelia Parker (TMSM), Karis Allen (RQMS), Nicole Anders (WMS), and Will Flowers (TASPA). Feedback from participants indicates that they felt inspired by what they learned from the teachers and the students who joined them for a panel discussion. A highlight of the day was when Heather Monk of Logic Wing led participants on a virtual tour of the Galapagos via Google Explorations. 

    Images from the event are captured in the slideshow below. 

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