Minecraft Creates Engaging Lessons In RRISD Schools

Reposted from Round Rock ISD Press Release 2/25/15

Round Rock ISD teachers are re-envisioning the educational value of video games after Minecraft has successfully integrated into language arts, social studies and math curriculums across the district. A pilot program to use Minecraft as a tool was started in 2013 at Laurel Mountain Elementary School and Canyon Vista Middle School. Since its success, the…(Read More)

Minecraft_2-2015

Round Rock ISD Next Generation Digital Classroom Pilot

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. Currently, this means one classroom at all 51 campuses will be a designated Next Generation Classroom. Fifteen district libraries have been 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. We will investigate the educational impact of a variety of digital classroom designs, across a multitude of diverse environments in order to determine the best investments to be made for maximum effect. Click here to learn more about the Next Generation Classrooms. 
NGDC_Logo

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 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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Technology Initiatives in Round Rock ISD

We have expanded the High School Laptop Initiative to include both 9th and 10th grade students at Round Rock High School and McNeil High School. These students have the opportunity to check out a laptop that they can use at school and at home. Along with the High School Laptop Initiative, Round Rock ISD also has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program that lets students bring in their personal devices that can be joined to the Round Rock ISD wireless network. An advantage of this program is that students can use a device that they are familiar with and makes using it a more personal learning experience for them.

Round Rock ISD Google Summit: Google Ninja Academy

The first annual Google Ninja Academy will be hosted by the Round Rock ISD Instructional Technology Department on November 2, 2013 at Round Rock High School. This high intensity one-day event focuses on deploying, integrating, and using Google Apps for Education and other Google Tools to promote student learning in K-12. The program features Google Apps for Education Certified Trainers, practicing administrators, teachers, librarians, and students. You may read more about the event on our academy Website.
Google Ninja Academy website

Concept-Mapping Techniques and Software

Concept-mapping, described in its most simplistic form, is a visual form of outlining. As with outlining, it captures thoughts and ideas, organizes those thoughts and ideas, and shows dependencies/connections between those thoughts and ideas. However, this technique, also called idea-mapping and mind-mapping, goes beyond the limitations that are inherent in such a linear tool as outlining. Concept-mapping provides a visual representation or diagram for individuals and groups to easily see how ideas connect to each other and relate to a main topic.

Because it is visual,
– ideas can be more easily explained and conveyed
– deeper thinking and understanding is promoted
– problems, possibilities, and scenarios can be more easily analyzed and explored
– engagement in the brainstorming process is encouraged and facilitated
– collaboration is increased

Although this technique can be done with a pencil and paper, chalkboard, marker board, or an easel pad, using digital tools such as concept-mapping software, document cameras, and interactive devices increase flexibility, documentation, and sharing to a much higher and more engaged level.

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Be sure to click on your school in the side bar to see examples of how this,
as well as other, technology is being integrated into the curriculum.
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Learning with Moodle

Many Round Rock ISD teachers implement Moodle, a learning management system, in their classroom. Moodle allows teachers to create a blended learning environment for their students which consists of face-to-face meetings in class along with online learning through the Moodle interface. Teachers who have embraced Moodle post many of their class handouts, notes, assignments, and resources in Moodle. Students have the ability to access the information 24/7 from Internet connected devices.
Within the Moodle environment, teachers can hold discussion forums, administer quizzes, and collect assignments. Moodle is an excellent tool for assisting with peer-to-peer and student-to-teacher collaboration. Moodle also provides the opportunity for students to experience and participate in online learning that is similar to what many colleges will require them to use.

Be sure to click on the name of your child’s school to see how Moodle and other technology tools are being integrated into the classroom.

Document Cameras in the Classroom

PreK through 12th grade teachers are discovering not only the instructional power, but the ease and flexibility of the document camera. It is capable of projecting, magnifying, and recording easily seen images and video of books, objects, documents, maps, drawings, activities, experiments, people, animals, etc. This tool is quickly becoming a favorite of teachers, individual students, and groups of students during lessons, demonstrations, and presentations:
– monitoring eggs hatching, butterflies emerging, plants growing, etc.
– graphic organizers
– modeling math and writing/editing
– math manipulatives
– art work
– science experiments and dissections
– student work
– show and tell
– “Big Book” reading and activities
– calculators
– timers
– note taking
– (the list can be endless)

All of this can be captured through video so that it can be reviewed later, for providing it to absent students, or providing a tool to help parents to support their children at home.

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Be sure to click on your school in the side bar to see examples of how this,
as well as other, technology is being integrated into the curriculum.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

In the Spotlight (Elementary – 5/18/2012)

Jollyville Robotics Students give Demonstration at Barnes and Noble
http://www.jvestech.blogspot.com/2012/05/jollyville-robotics-students-give.html
Jollyville Elementary school held a book fair at Barnes and Noble near Lakeline Mall. A percentage of the day’s purchases went to Jollyville’s library. Librarian, Mrs. Carter, organized lots of events for the day, like a pet parade, flip flop fashion show and a robotics demonstration. At 10:30 on Saturday morning, the robotics club met in the store’s story area to show off some things that they have been working on this year. Children gathered around to watch and the to use the robots, created with Lego NXT kits, themselves.

Wells Branch: 5th Graders Keeping Current!
http://wellsbranchtech.edublogs.org/2012/05/08/5th-graders-keeping-current/
Students in Mrs. Wilson’s 5th grade class have been keeping up with current events within our community and around the world. The students presented a news worthy event that occurred within the past week. The students can present their articles in a variety of ways. Some students use technology such at Prezi, Windows Live Movie Maker, Office Powerpoint, and Office Publisher, while other students use their creative side with the arts. Creativity and learning comes alive with re-enactments of the article through a skit, anchoring a newscast , while other still create sculptures and book covers for the article. This allows the students to keep current with news worthy events through all different learning styles and media.

Graphic Organizers
Caraway 4th grade students: Brainstorning Web of Prior Knowledge
http://kcesitech.blogspot.com/2012/05/brainstorning-web-of-prior-knowledge.html
Pond Springs students: Classifying Animals with Kidspiration
http://pondspringsit.blogspot.com/2012/05/classifying-animals-with-kidspiration.html

Living History Museum
Live Oak 3rd grade students
http://oldtowntech.edublogs.org/2012/05/08/third-grade-researches-for-their-living-history-museum/
Old Town 3rd grade students
http://oldtowntech.edublogs.org/2012/05/08/third-grade-researches-for-their-living-history-museum/

Interactive Boards
Callison: Advanced Promethean Training!
http://callisontechnology.blogspot.com/2012/05/advanced-promethean-training.html
Pond Springs: Are You Smarter Than a Third Grader?
http://pondspringsit.blogspot.com/2012/05/are-you-smarter-than-third-grader.html

Response Devices
Berkman: Let’s Vote
http://gettingitrightberkman.blogspot.com/2012/05/lets-vote.html
Deepwood: TurningPoint Response System.
http://dwesits.blogspot.com/2012/05/mrs.html

Video Productions/Presentations
Spicewood: 1st Grade Expressions
http://spicewoodtechnology.blogspot.com/2012/05/1st-grade-expressions.html
Canyon Creek: Hatchet Retold Using Paper Slides
http://ccetech.blogspot.com/2012/05/hatchet-retold-using-paper-slides.html
Fern Bluff: Stop Motion Movies on Energy Sources
http://fernbluffit.edublogs.org/2012/05/09/stop-motion-movies-on-energy-sources/

More Great Technology Happenings on Elementary Campuses Around the District:
Deepwood: Favorite Things Tagxedo
http://dwesits.blogspot.com/2012/05/fourth-graders-created-favorite-things.html
Bluebonnet: Second Grade Creates Powerpoint Presentations to Display Research
http://www.bbestech.blogspot.com/2012/05/second-grade-creates-powerpoint.html
Cactus Ranch: Animal Skull Examination
http://crelonghorncelebrations.blogspot.com/2012/05/animal-skull-examination-ms.html
Callison: Online Resource Training!
http://callisontechnology.blogspot.com/2012/05/online-resource-training.html
Live Oak: Fifth Grade is Going Places with Moodle
http://liveoakit.blogspot.com/2012/05/fifth-grade-is-going-places-with-moodle.html
Live Oak: Fourth and Fifth Graders Learn Science with STEMscopes
http://liveoakit.blogspot.com/2012/05/fourth-and-fifth-graders-learn-science.html
Pond Springs: Fourth Grader Make Cartoons with ToonDoo
http://pondspringsit.blogspot.com/2012/05/fourth-grader-make-cartoons-with.html
Pond Springs: First Grade Creates Animal Photo Stories
http://pondspringsit.blogspot.com/2012/05/first-grade-creates-animal-photo.html
Purple Sage: New Technology at Purple Sage
http://psesitech.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-technology-at-purple-sage.html
Purple Sage: Student Created Newsletter
http://psesitech.blogspot.com/2012/05/student-created-newsletter.html
Purple Sage: Intervention Software
http://psesitech.blogspot.com/2012/05/intervention-software.html
Purple Sage: QR Codes used at our Book Fair
http://psesitech.blogspot.com/2012/05/qr-codes-used-at-our-book-fair.html
Spicewood: Public Service Announcements
http://spicewoodtechnology.blogspot.com/2012/05/public-service-announcements.html