Robotics Showcase

Round Rock ISD will host its annual Robotics Showcase on May 20 from 5:00 to 6:30 at Cactus Ranch Elementary. There will be several schools from across the district displaying and demonstrating what they have accomplished in their robotics programs throughout the year. The highlight of the showcase is usually the Sumo Bot competitions. These matches are student led and are exciting for the the participants involved. Below are some samples from Ridgeview Middle School.

Gamification in Round Rock ISD

Round Rock ISD is currently piloting the educational version of the popular Minecraft game at four campuses. Integrating this popular game for students into the educational setting is catching on world-wide making it hard to get a seat at the recent SXSWEDU conference. It seems to be natural fit to add educational activities into a game that students enjoy to play. We have witnessed firsthand the increased level of engagement of students who are learning while using the strategy of gamification. A few observations from staff working with the pilot are below:

  • Students who are normally very quiet and reserved will go into great detail about what they are learning using Minecraft.
  • Students who normally do not talk to each other will quickly begin collaborating with each other.
  • Not only is the project student friendly, but it is also spreading among teachers as they become more familiar with how they can use Minecraft as a tool to teach and reinforce concepts.

The campuses involved in the pilot are Canyon Vista Middle School, Hernandez Middle School, Laurel Mountain Elementary, and Pond Springs Elementary. Click on the school name to learn more about their pilot. More information on MinecraftEdu can be found at http://minecraftedu.com/page/news.

The Importance of Information Literacy

An essential component of helping students become critical thinkers and problem solvers is helping them become more informed decision makers and educated consumers of the vast amount of information and media that they have available to them in today’s digital world. One tool used to achieve this is the “SMELL” test. This is an acronym developed by John McManus, author of Market-Driven Journalism: Let the Citizen Beware?.

S = Source (Who is providing the information?)
M = Motivation (Why are they telling me this?)
E = Evidence (What evidence is provided for generalizations?)
L = Logic (Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?)
L = Left out (What’s missing that might change our interpretation of the information?)

The Next Generation Digital Classroom (NGDC)

NGDC

Through the Next Generation Digital Classroom (NGDC) strategic design and implementation, Round  Rock ISD intends to create “incubator classrooms” at each school designed to foster the integration of new teaching and learning with the help of mobile/tablet technology. This means one classroom at all 51 campuses will be a designated Next Generation Classroom. Eight district libraries will also be selected to be included in this pilot initiative. The next generation classroom will set standards for what the digital classroom can look like in the future and will redefine the way teaching and learning take place. The pilot is intended for one year in order to study the most effective instructional use and most technically sound options for going forward. Teacher applications will be made available starting April 8th and “trailblazer” candidates will be selected in mid May. More information can be found at http://ngdcrrisd.blogspot.com/

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Talking to Your Children about Cyber-Safety

Round Rock ISD implements the Common Sense Media materials to teach students how to stay safe online. Along with the instructional materials available for schools, they also provide information and documents for parent to use when talking to their child about cyber-safety and proper online behavior. Check out the Family Media Agreements and the many other documents that you can use with your family. These documents can help start positive conversations about how to stay safe online. Please contact your campus Instructional Technology Specialist if you have any further questions or need additional assistance.

Round Rock ISD Celebration of Families

Celebration of Families

Round Rock ISD will be hosting its annual Celebration of Families on March 1 from 9:00 to 3:30 at McNeil High School. As part of the celebration, the instructional technology department will be hosting a Learners Playground for parents and students. The Learners Playground will provide hands on activities covering the following topics: Think Through Math, IStation, Atomic Learning, Google Apps for Education, and Common Sense Media for acceptable use and cybersafety. If you are planning to attend the Celebration of Families, please stop by the Learners Playground to learn more about these programs.

Instructional Technology Presentation at “Leadership Round Rock ISD” (2/18/2014)

As part of the district’s efforts to engage members of the community and to develop interest in future Board of Trustees candidates, Round Rock ISD created “Leadership Round Rock ISD” which offers district stakeholders the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” of Round Rock ISD, meet the people who are responsible for programs and services, and see first-hand how the district creates a climate of success for our rapidly growing, diverse student population.
( http://www.roundrockisd.org/about_r_r_i_s_d/citizens__committees/leadership_round_rock_isd/)

Representatives from the RRISD Instructional Technology Department were invited to present a brief overview of how instructional technology is being implemented in the district at their February 18, 2014 meeting. Below are links to the presentation document and sample classroom learning experiences using technology.

Link to Presentation Document:
https://docs.google.com/a/roundrockisd.org/presentation/d/1DFoUr6wfWQzJPo1lETZBFYJQaM4x0WcqJ7KyQB8oXTY/edit

Sample Links from the campus Getting I.T. Right Blogs:
McNeil High School – Twitter in the classroom
Round Rock High School – Digital Learning with Apex
Deerpark Middle School – Engaging Girls in Engineering
Grisham – Texas History Digital Classroom
Spicewood Elementary – Digital Postcards to Read, Write, Think
Laurel Mountain – First Lego League
Bluebonnet Elementary – Technology in the Art Classroom
Purple Sage – Google Presentation and Science
Great Oaks – 3D Shapes with 1st Grade
Blackland Prairie – The Wilderness Classroom

“Homework” requested of the attendees: Please visit the various campus blogs, look for posts that you find particularly interesting, and leave a comment.

Video of ITS explaining her role on the campus:
ITS-Duties-Video-Mattingly

Article by Patrick Ledesma on October 23, 2012:
Technology Experts in Schools: Teacher Leaders or Technicians?

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Be sure to click on your school in the side bar to see examples of how
technology is being integrated into the curriculum.
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School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart

Campus Instructional Technology Specialists have been working with their campus principals to develop a professional development plan for integrating technology into the curriculum. As part of this plan, data from previous years Texas Teacher STaR (School Technology and Readiness) Chart is analyzed to identify areas for growth. Teachers will complete the Texas Teacher STaR Chart in the spring and the results will again be analyzed. The Texas Teacher STaR Chart has been developed around the four key areas of the Long-Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020: Teaching and Learning; Educator Preparation and Development; Leadership, Administration and Instructional Support; and Infrastructure for Technology. The Texas Teacher STaR Chart is designed to help teachers, campuses, and districts determine their progress toward meeting the goals of the Long-Range Plan for Technology, as well as meeting the goals of the district. For more information on the Texas Teacher STaR Chart visit  http://starchart.epsilen.com/.

RRISD Assistive Technology Department: Increased Independence and Opportunities

The use of technology in the classroom that makes learning happen at a level that would not have been possible had the technology not been present is an Instructional Technology goal for all students and teachers. However the realization of that goal is most evident for the RRISD Assistive Technology Department. Assistive technology increases a student’s opportunities for education, social interactions, and potential for meaningful employment. Most of all, it increases their level of independence.

Links to two previous postings regarding the RRISD Assistive Technology Department:
Part 1 (Posted on 2/26/2013): http://tinyurl.com/l7lar4z
Part 2 (Posted on 3/5/2013): http://tinyurl.com/lfdog8b

Congratulations: Westwood HS Computer Science Students

Please congratulate the following UIL Computer Science students from Westwood High school who competed this month at an event organized by LASA and sponsored by Indeed.

With more than 30 teams present from schools in Austin, Leander, Pflugerville, and Eanes ISDs, the 11 Westwood students not only demonstrated the continuing success and spirit of Computer Science on their campus, but also proudly represented RRISD as a whole.

Advanced Category (Post-AP students with 2 or more years of study)
– 2nd place: Leslie Tu
– 3rd place: Young Wang
– 4th place: Shawn Wu
– 2nd place “Advanced” team: Chase Terry, Young Wang, Shawn Wu
– 3rd place “Advanced” team: Jo Bridgwater, Steven Chen, Leslie Tu

Intermediate Category (AP students with 1 or 2 years of study)
– 4th place: Sameer Bibikar
– 2nd place “Intermediate” team: Sameer Bibikar, Batu Ozsaracoglu, Kaan Ozsaracoglu