VSTE Conference in VA Beach: TONS of great techie ideas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 / Leave a Comment
This past Sunday and Monday several Elementary ITRT’s traveled to Virginia Beach to attend the 2014 Virginia Society for Technology in Education’s Annual Conference.

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While there participants were given the opportunity to sit in on various concurrent sessions, listen to awesome keynote speakers, visit various exhibits, see student work from around the state and collaborate with other teachers from numerous other counties. We even got to see some Henrico County students be recognized for their awesome work this past year!

We are excited about some of the new things we learned and can’t wait to get into the classrooms and share these things with our teachers! Here are a few highlights of what we saw:

Google Tour Builder Teachers from Fairfax County Public Schools had their students read the book Around the World in Eighty Days. After completing the book they created a Google Tour based on the cities that Phileas Fogg visited. The students inserted images using Encyclopedia Britannica Image Gallery and added facts about each location. Lastly the presenters shared Jerome Burg’s seminal and evolving collection of Google Earth Literature Trips. These ready to go lessons incorporate various picture books and novels that the students read prior to creating their Google Tour.

Google Classroom: Join the Paperless Revolution Most of your ITRT’s have been pushing Google Drive this year! In August, Google recently unveiled Google Classroom. An interactive Learning Management System that allows you create a virtual classroom, have your student join, add assignments and announcements and collaborate with your students. Contact your ITRT if you’d like help setting up your own Google Classroom.

15 + Tech Tools You Can Use Next Week Nikki Jones, Prince William County, presented on 15 awesome resources that are ready for implementation in your classrooms immediately! Check our her handout from the session!

Powerful Primary Projects Combine Creativity and Content This session focused on some of the new features of Pixie and how they have implemented Pixie in Hanover County classrooms. Jennifer Hicks, an elementary ITRT, shared her Pixie wiki with us. It has some awesome lesson ideas.

Google Apps for Education Add-Ons Henrico County’s very own Jon Wirsing presented at the VSTE conference. He shared some awesome features found within Google. Since there is a big push for Google this year he showcased some samples from HCPS classrooms and discussed the various add-on featured within Google Drive. Some of these included: Awesome Table, Flubaroo, Doctopus, Goobric, DocApender, Formmule, Autocrat, Google Moderator-polls based on popularity, Cultural Institute: art projects, historical moments and Google Keep. jon

X Marks The Spot: Digging Up Tech Treasures This session sent participants on a scavenger hunt to locate various QR codes. Each code was linked to a digital resource such as Kahoot!, Educreations, Symbaloo, Poll Everywhere and Socrative. Symbaloo quickly became our favorite! This free resource functions much like PortaPortal but is more visually appealing to the eyes! It allows your to create bookmark “tiles” that link to various resources! Capture

Lastly, she showcased the features of Educreations. HCPS already has Educreations loaded onto our county iPads but we were most impressed with Educreations on the computers! If you haven’t had a chance to give it a try get with your ITRT!

Makey Makey MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. It allows student to turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It's a simple invention kit for beginners and experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. Our ITRT’s were excited when they were able to make a banana piano! There are tons of MakeyMakey resources available on the internet. The kits run about $50 and students are able to create all sorts of projects and inventions. Check out this video explaining MakeyMakey. mattjg

Meaningful Technology for Our Youngest Learners This session was led by a kindergarten teacher, Jenn Orr, who shared some wonderful resources about ways to include technology in the classroom for younger learners. Some great websites to visit for read aloud books besides Raz-Kids and Tumblebooks include: StorylineOnline, Unite for Literacy and Toon Book Reader. Toon Book Reader reads aloud graphic novels as it highlights the text. The books can be read in multiple languages...great for your ELL students! Also, be sure to check out all of the fun math games found on Illuminations.

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