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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Year New Features - Schoology Series

Sharp pencils and fresh notebooks, a new school year is underway! The school supply aisle at Target isn’t the only place to find new things. Welcome to the Instructional Technology Blog 2017 - 2018 edition. Here you will find tips, tricks and new ideas for bringing creativity and collaboration to your teaching, along with practical how to’s for navigating Google and Schoology.

Level Up Schoology!

Check out this presentation on 9 ways to take your Schoology course up a level. It’s time to use visual cues and clues to make your ideas engaging.


  1. Your course needs a symbol - think of a fun or practical image that describes your course or teaching style. Need help - get an icon from Noun Project


  1. Visual Anchors - Just like in a physical classroom, creating routine and structure is important in  your digital classroom. Consider adding visual anchors to your folders in Schoology to create an anticipated structure for your course.       



Pro Tip!
 The Noun Project at the elementary level is great for helping students with emerging literacy use simple icons to share complex ideas. Plus, the images are Creative Commons licensed for use with attribution.


A great start to a beautiful friendship

A great new Schoology feature is the integration with Google Drive for managing student workflow.

Consider
  1. Shared correctly automagically and securely! The teacher retains ownership of the document and individual student copies are automatically created.  Students have editing rights until the due date after which they can only view the document. Students are also restricted from making a copy, sharing or printing - which makes group projects a little tricky for now.


  1. Choose wisely - this feature is to assign a Google Doc, Slides or Sheet to students. That means it triggers the assignment features in Schoology (due date, late notices etc…) IF you just want the kids to have a copy of the assignment, there are other ways to do that. Here’s a quick tip to force a copy.


  1. Save to Drive.pngGet ready for offline mode - One of the features of Google Drive is the ability to work offline for times when students do not have access to the internet. In order to use this feature students must add the document created in Schoology to their Drive. Good news it is as easy as one click!


How does this look at the elementary level?

I am using Google inside Schoology to make it easier for students to make their own copy. Instead of sharing my copy, then having them each make their own copy, they can click on the link in Schoology and it makes a copy for them. It names it for them (streamlining and standardizing the naming process), and is automatically ready to go. Just as easy for me to make the assignment and saves a step for the students.- Meghan Morrison, Grade 5 Noble Elementary


Meghan has been using the Google/Schoology integration with some of her ELA assignments. Even if you are not using Schoology regularly at the elementary level, using the Schoology/Google integration can really streamline the workflow for students and teachers.


Happy New Year to everyone! We look forward to partnering with you this year!


Robbinsdale Technology Integration Team

Sean Beaverson - Armstrong
Colleen Kennedy - Cooper
Mark Daniel - Middle Schools
Kris Haagenson - Elementary Schools

Jake Givand - Online Learning

Monday, May 22, 2017

Digital Housekeeping

As each school year ends, it is a wise idea to do some digital housekeeping in Schoology and Google Drive. In our post this week, we provide some tips to help you put things in order before summer break.

After all of your had work this year building or updating your course(s), you don't want to start over next fall. Schoology Personal and Group Resources are the best way to preserve a copy of your work. The video below shows how it works. Please note that courses/content saved in Resources is separate from courses in your Course Archive. Archived courses include student data.



Another important place to organize is your Google Drive. Take time to create and maintain folders. If you have files that you no longer need, we recommend that you place them in a folder named 'Archive' or similar. You can always delete them next fall if desired. If you are changing buildings or roles and own shared files or folders that others need, be sure to transfer ownership.

For staff leaving the district, the document linked below provides information about downloading a copy of your Google Apps data (Drive, Gmail, photos, etc.). It also shares a couple of ways to save your Schoology data. You will need to use a personal computer or external storage in this process. Long time district staff may also want to download a backup of their data every few years. Please note that multimedia files such as videos and high resolution images can take lots of storage space.

Exporting Google and Schoology Data

Please work with your media or technology integration specialist if you have questions or run into problems.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Classroom Innovations that Embrace Personalized Learning


Anne Johnson is a science teacher at Cooper High School.  She decided that she wanted to take a unit she has taught in the past and make it personalized for students.  She had the idea that if students had the ability to go at their own pace and have some choice of activities, her students would be more engaged and empowered in their learning.  She broke up the learning of the unit into pods.  She then arranged her classroom into small groups. “When a student arrived at a POD and didn’t understand what to do they would ask another student for help, which free’d me up to work with the more needy students”

One pod was a “Help me” POD for those students requiring more guided work.  Students were assisted in navigating going from one pod to another with their Schoology course.  If a student completed one pod, they moved to another table group for the next pod.  Each table group had the materials needed for that pod.  Some pods involved watching video lectures and others involved experiments or craft activities.  Students were cleared to move to the next pod by passing a quiz or completed a set of work.  Johnson explained that “Students that completed ALL assigned work were rewarded.  Six lucky students got to pick from a box of treats, trinkets, and gift cards (no more than $3).”  Johnson reported that “Student completion of work increased for all classes.  There were students that don’t turn in work, completing work on a daily basis.  Students seemed to enjoy the fact that they could take charge of how fast they learned this topic.”

Johnson started thinking about this change when she took part in the summer Technology Adventure Cohort last summer.  She commented that her time to explore technology such as PlayPosit and Schoology helped her to figure out how to lay out the unit for the students.   She also was inspired when she learned she could get some new furniture, wrap-around whiteboards and technology in her classroom.  “I look forward to coupling the new technology installed in my classroom with this model of learning.  Having access to more ways of expressing themselves, such as using whiteboard space, better group dynamic,  or ergonomics, should increase the engagement of students even more.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tech Around 281 - Student Voice Series: Quizlet Live!

When was the last time your students were pumped to do a vocabulary review? You probably are imagining the groans and moans. Well if you are a student in Shannon Byers 4th grade classroom at Meadow Lake, you would have a slightly different response.

Reviewing language arts vocabulary words were the order of the day and the mood was more like one before a sporting competition. “We’ve got this….oh yea, I’m on the Alpaca’s team...everyone ready to start...GO!


Why was this activity so exciting? All because of a digital feedback tool called “Quizlet Live.”


Quizlet Live is an in-class, team-based learning game. Students work together to correctly match a Quizlet set's terms and definitions. The first team to match 12 in a row wins!

Quizlet Live (Click here)

How does it work?

  • Students work together in randomized teams of 3 or 4
  • Teams race to match all the terms and definitions
  • Incorrect answers reset the team's progress to zero
  • The first team to match all 12 terms correctly in a row wins.
  • At the end of a game, teams see what what they matched correctly and incorrectly

Want to learn more about how to set up Quizlet Live for your class? See here!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Summer 2017 Technology PD Opportunities


Elementary Teachers

Elementary teachers may choose from a variety of half-day sessions. Learn about digital tools that can add creativity, collaboration and critical thinking to your lessons. All sessions will include an examination of classroom management with digital tools. Sessions are offered in June and August. Click here for details and session descriptions. Questions? Contact kris_haagenson@rdale.org

Middle School Teachers

2017-18 is a refresh year for the middle schools. Students will get new Chromebooks and staff will have more opportunities to build and refresh their skills. Access Points workshop are offered for teachers who have not attended before. Choose from three different dates in June and August.

Teachers interested in taking personalized learning to a new level may apply to participate in a Technology Adventure Cohort. Teachers learn together for one day and work independently on a project for an additional 20 hours. 

Middle school teachers are encouraged to attend PerLCon17. This conference-style event offers a wide variety of options—twenty sessions in all. Participants will choose the path that best suits their goals for the new school year. Teachers may register for one or both days. Click here for more information on these options. Questions? Contact mark_daniel@rdale.org

High School Teachers

Teachers interested in taking personalized learning to a new level may apply to participate in a Technology Adventure Cohort. Teachers learn together for one day and work independently on a project for an additional 20 hours. 

High school teachers are encouraged to attend PerLCon17. This conference-style event offers a wide variety of options—twenty sessions in all. Participants will choose the path that best suits their goals for the new school year. Teachers may register for one or both days. Click here for more information on these options. Questions? Contact colleen_kennedy@rdale.org or sean_beverson@rdale.org


  • Register in KeepCertified.
  • Teachers will be paid at the professional development rate.

Further details on PerLCon17 will be published soon on this web site: bit.ly/dms-learning.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Schoogle - Create a Dynamic Assignment Cycle

Google to Schoology - Creating a Dynamic Assignment Cycle

One of the key features of Google Apps is the power of collaboration. I appreciated having access to student work as it was being created. It helped me to keep track of those kids that tended to struggle, making it easier to add advice or redirection. I didn't spot check every student, but I had the option. The image below describes the process of creating a cycle that will allow a teacher to manage student work at the front end of an assignment. Schoology ends the cycle - students submit to Schoology for final review.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Tech Around 281 - Student Voice Series: Middle School Digital Personalized Learning


"Student Voice Series: Middle School Digital Personalized Learning" Video Link


Through the use of screen capturing videos, students are able to view the content at their own pace and review it as needed. Also, the use of Schoology completion rule folder settings provides a way to scaffolded activities. The teacher sets the level for completion of each activity and then students can continue with as many attempts as needed and advance as they are ready. The use of these two strategies provides the learner with individually paced content and feedback. This process allows the learner a personalized learning experience.