Sunday, September 28, 2014

Andover Innovation & Instructional Technology Update Week Of September 22-26 2014 - Google Sites & Classroom -1:1 Initiative

This past week I spent a number of appointments with teachers introducing them to the benefits of Google Classroom,Google Sites and web based google documents and calendars. As I introduce the interface of Google Classroom to teachers it is amazing how this platform will improve the communication and sharing of assignments between students and teachers. This video from Google helps explain this interface.

Helping to assist teachers in adopting Google sites has also been relatively seamless. Teachers quickly choose to create a site within their login then choose a template and start choosing their page names. This is by far one of these easiest tools to quickly get teachers on board with organizing their resources for the classroom.

In the photo on the left Spanish Teacher Tom Powers investigates transferring his classroom to Google Classroom. We had the opportunity to discuss the pro's and cons. Tom likes the ability to add assignments seamlessly but would like a better way to share his homework postings.

I worked with Health Teacher Jackie Salvensen to upload a number of her Word documents into Google Drive. The upload took longer than we expected so we made a follow up appointment to complete the process. Completing this process will enable her to back up her documents and also to share them more easily as links to others.

I was also able to have a follow up appointment with Adriana Gonzalez to help her add a homework calendar using Google to her Blogger Blog. Adriana has worked hard to get her blog up and running to share resources and documents.

Web Design Teacher Michael Messina shared with his students the The Creative Process In 10 Steps with his class. This is a video he introduced to help students be inspired as they embark on the concept development stage of their web design process.

Here is the link:

This past week brings together a number of components related to educational technology initiatives in the Andover Public Schools. Andover teachers are at a crossroads in which hopefully in a short number of months teachers in the 8th grades will have classrooms in which all students will have their own Macbook Air computer.

On Monday night(9/30) the parents of these students will have the opportunity to weigh in on their opinions and perspectives on this initiative. The planning and professional development strategies for teachers related to this goal are also a huge responsibility becuase we need to support the learning of the students as well as the teachers adaptation to having the consistent access to devices with their curriculum.

The Mac platform enables a high level of scalability for both the teachers and the learning curve for the students. It also makes the process of protecting the city’s network easier. In my opinion the district is ready for this shift. We are ready to embrace the wonderful new challenges to support teachers and embrace the new engaged learning environment this will create for students.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Andover Innovation & Instructional Technology Update Week Of September 8-12 2014 - Google Galore At Andover High School!!!!

The Andover Innovation Lab students have been busy pushing things forward and developing materials for students and teachers to adapt to the use of new technology. I began working with Eli Gukovsky on a script to help teachers sign out laptop carts using a form from their computers. Eli is using Google scripts which is a web based coding platform built into Google Docs which enables the documents to work together to move data for different uses. For more information I highly recommend this link from the Google team which explores the use of Google scripts more in depth.

Overview From Google I/O

Developer Quickstarts From Google

We have enabled students to post their blogs as authors this year which has streamlined the process of our collaborative blog. Students can now work on their blogs in docs and post as they please and wait for approval. This has enabled me to better manage the blogging part of our program and empowered the students with access.

Andrei Dumitrescu has begun the download the components of the Android Studio to his personal laptop. Android Studio is the Android Platforms web based development environment for mobile applications which updates automatically and supports the newest version of Android. I look forward to supporting Andrei as he begins work with this platform. We are also lucky to have other students who have experience working with the platform from last years help desk.
Adam Yee is translating his interest in Sports Statistics to a project in the Andover Innovation lab. it is great to see a student translate skills and interests from different areas into the application of technology. He is currently finding ways to present the that he is collecting and working on organizing it as a technology driven project.

We closed the week working on  video series on Turnitin software and also Google Groups. We completed both of these projects and look forward to seeing the students work on their own projects this week and move them forward in the development phases to choosing formative projects.

Dan Brennan Video Production Teacher at Andover high School has been greatly beneficial as a part of the Andover Innovation Team. He has helped better integrate the use of video tools into our videos and help us document the student learning and experiences with video.

Andover Innovation Tutorial Lead

Teacher Development & Learning

The library has added an additional 3 carts of MacBooks for the Computer Science, Science and Writing Lab. These carts will be an invaluable resource for teachers being able to integrate technology into their classroom. It also solidifies the library as a learning hub for students.

I had the great opportunity of working with Diana Zawil on the creation of a blogger blog for her Spanish 2 courses. Diana had a great vision for what she wanted on her blog and just needed a little introduction to the Blogger platform to move forward. i was very impressed with her detail and choice of web 2.0 tools she integrates into her classroom. Here is a link to class blog which is fantastic!

Brian Shea integrated the use of Google Docs into his program with the National Honor Society. Brian created a form to share with all of the potential members of NHS to accept their application materials. He is also utilizing the features of Google Drive to receive video submissions from students. he is benefiting greatly from the efficiency that these tools have added to this process.

Jackie Salvensen worked on creating a working document to help organize her videos amongst teachers in the health dept. This web based document will enable with one clip to share the collected video links of her department. Her next step was beginning to upload her old Word Documents into Google Drive to Share.

Worked with Louise Cummings on calendars and collaboration in the Transitions classroom this week. She plans on integrating Google tools to share calendars as well as collect important information with Google Forms which will help organize her classroom. She is a huge fan of the collaboration ability Google provides with its tools. I expect that I will really see her classroom change as she moves forward.

We are really progressing with the use of technology and enhancing student and staff communication with the use of Google. Moving forward i can only see more of these tools being used as they truly simplify our worklflow in all that we do.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Google Apps Script

I’ve been having a lot of fun this year. I’m the only student who was at the help desk last year. The help desk is more organized this year, and I have non-project responsibilities now. Me and Will made a webcast for the teachers on how to use Google Forms. I also made a Google Form / Google App Script for the teachers to sign out the mac carts. Google App Scripts was easy to learn because it has the same syntax as Javascript (ECMAScript 5.0). It was fun making a small project for the school. There are many more people this time. Last time, I was the only student in the Lab, but now I’m joined with a lot of others. So that’s my first 2 weeks so far, I spent most of it on the script.

I still am not so sure what I want to make, though it'll probably be an RPN calculator made in several languages. An example RPN calculator:

Ari Blog Post Week 1

My name is Ari, and I am interested primarily in computers, books, and games. I joined the Help Desk because I like computers, and was hoping to learn more about them. I think a career in computer science sounds fun, and it is a field with many job openings and decent-to-good pay. I was also hoping to meet people with similar interests to me.

So, far I have looked up some Java tutorials (for later) and started on a screencast that will ideally help teachers use the Turn It In software.

Once I finish, I plan on going back to the Java tutorials and doing my best to learn to code. I haven’t yet decided on my personal project, but I’m eager to explore the possibilities.

When I was looking at the Turn It In software tutorials, I was thinking of ways to condense the information to make it easier to digest. To be fair, though, the user interface already had all the buttons clearly labeled and seemed very transparent. I hope my screencast will help teachers learn to use Turn It In, as I thought it was a cool program which will hopefully make digital assignments much easier to manage than paper assignments.

Today's Goals For The Andover Innovation Lab & Help Desk September 18th

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

First Blog Entry-Adam Yee

Hi.  My name is Adam Yee and I’m an addict.  It all started when I was 5, but it has only become stronger.  It’s Sports!  I’ve been in love with sports at a young age and currently play club basketball and am Captain for the 2015 Boys Volleyball team.  For the past couple weeks at the Innovation Lab, been tracking Fantasy Sports stats and predicting which players could potentially have breakout performances.  The goal of this is to put the best possible team together come the end of the semester purely based on statistics.  Starting out in September, I have been tracking Fantasy Football but once the basketball season comes around, I will create the ultimate Fantasy Football lineup and then switch to Fantasy Basketball; which I will be tracking until the end of the semester.

To accomplish this I will be using my computer as well as Excel to track stats of certain key players.  I will be tracking 5 players/teams for each of the 9 categories (Quarterback, Running back, Right End, Defense etc).  This will be done completely without interference from Fantasy Analyst input.  Thus, I will not be referencing ESPN, Yahoo!, or any blogs.  When the NBA season starts, I will do 10 players per position rather than 5 because there are simply less categories in basketball than football; making management easier.

In other news, Andrei and I have been preparing notes on how to use Google Groups.  If everything works out, we are planning on making it a 2 video webcast; the first being an introduction to Google Groups and how to set one up; the second one will go more in depth into the different kinds of groups and functions of the group.  Andrei is currently at a guidance appointment but we are ready to film the webcast later today or next class.

Other interesting facts about me include that both my parents are from Asia: My dad was from Taishan province in China and my mom came from Hong Kong.  I can speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

Will's first blog post

Will Owen

        In the first few days of being in the innovation lab I have mostly been thinking
about what I am going to do for my big project. Although I am helping to work on a few
smaller things, that doesn't seem to be my main focus. So far the class seems to be
very open ended. The option to choose my own topic and idea to create is a nice
freedom that is associated with the class. As of my current status on what I would like to
accomplish in my time at the innovation lab, I have a few ideas. I think I want to create
either some kind of story driven RPG or maybe make my own physics engine. I could
even take that to the next level by making some kind of fighting game. Either way, I do
have some ideas. A friend and I have talked often about an RPG we want to create but
have never had the chance, so this class may be that chance. I’ve also have had a
strong interest in fighting games ever since I was young and have a good grasp at how
they work and function. I have done some research on both of these ideas and I think I
have found some tools that may help me accomplish any one of these. I think that the
whole physics engine would be a challenge but I may be able to pull it together if I
wanted to.

        As of what I’m doing right now in the class I have been preparing to make a small
webcast tutorial on how to create a google form and format it correctly to an individual's
requirements. Hopefully we will be able to get it done without any difficulties. We have an outline so it should all go okay. That’s about it for the first few classes. So far no issues but I haven't started my main project either so I’ll have to wait and see if any come up later.

First Blog

Hi my name is Andrei Dumitrescu and i am part of the helpdesk team. I joined because i love to work with technology and to help others learn about technology and how to use it. Some of my interest are sports math and sleeping. My family is originally from Romania so naturally i can speak Romanian, but i was born in America.

Some things that i have done so far at the innovation lab is to learn a bit of programming for an app on the android app store, i have done multitudes of research on the best possible way to create apps. Furthermore i have created a webcast on how to make a google group that will help our teachers in the future of technology.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning-Andover High School Update Week Of September 2-5 2014

The startup of the Andover Innovation Lab/Help Desk was great as we have 7 students beginning projects. The new format at the help desk will have students creating webcasts. They are also going to be blogging soon about their projects and I look forward to reading about their learning process and projects. Students are ramped up to participate in ways to help assist teachers with the use of technology in their classrooms.

The District’s Tech Con has once again started the year with a bang and I had the great opportunity to present on a variety of Project Based Learning Technology Tools for the classroom and also presented on the Integration Of Social Media Into Our School District with Director Of Digital Learning Joanne Najarian. I have included the links to our presentations below.

New photo added to gallery

I have had many opportunities to discuss the implementation of the Lego Mindstorm Kits into the Middle School science curriculum with Steve Sanborn the Program Coordinator for the Science/Engineering Department in Andover. Its great to see the enthusiasm he has for this program and the opportunities this program will present for the integration of coding,engineering and robotics into his program.
New photo added to gallery

It was rewarding this week to reconnect with the teachers about technology and see where their goals are at for the year. I had the opportunity to work with Louise Cummings and her team in the Transitions Program at the high school to integrate Google Calendar across their computers so they could manage the support for different students needs.  

On additional professional levels I just completed the development of a curriculum for a course in “Web Application Development” for Bunker Hill Community College. This course includes to ebooks which delve into the context of web applications in the modern world of web development as well as a technical project which allows students to work their way through a project through the course. I am proud to complete the development of this course and look forward to its implementation.

So we have taken off with a huge push and plan on completing so many new technology projects this year! Looking forward to a great year of collaboration,sharing and learning with the fine teachers,administration and staff of the Andover Public Schools

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Instructional Technology & Digital Learning Update Andover High School Week Of August 25-28 2014

Over the course of the summer I had d the opportunity to teach ,develop new curriculum and view the transformation of a variety of classroom and library spaces for the Andover Public Schools Digital Learning Department.

Summer Work
I taught a Web Design & Development course at Minuteman High School for 3 weeks which enabled me to review and research new tools for the new Web Development course  which is going to be rolled out this fall at Andover High School. The Web Design & Development course is one of 3 new courses which in include Game Development and Exploring Computer Science course. These courses are part of the newly formed Digital Learning Department at Andover High School.

As preparation for the new Exploring Computer Science course I participated in a great  training at Google in August with the new Digital Learning Teacher Michael Messina. We were
not only able to witness the “Google “ work experience but also got great training in making computer science more equitable for a wide range of students. The experience at Google was fantastic and getting to know many of the other teachers participating in this opportunity was extremely rewarding.

Early in the summer I was able to use mobile application development curriculum that I had been developing with a grant with the National Science Foundation and Bunkerhill Community College. The course uses video screencasted tutorials and sequenced code lessons to enable students to create an Android Mobile Application. This was a rewarding opportunity to begin teaching this curriculum  which I had been  developing with a former student of mine over the past year.

Teacher Successes 2013-2014
I was also able to reflect on the success of the teachhers with technology at Andover High School. So many teachers challenged themselves with adopting Google Docs and so many new web 2.0 tools to enhance their teaching. The students who participated in the first year of the Andover Innovation Lab produced so many amazing projects and experiences. Moving forward I have created a new website to showcase their writing and projects We are excited to be scheduled to present at the Masscue conference in October and be a part of their student showcase and help desk.

In addition to the new website we plan on having a theme introduced each year for students to investigate.  This year we are embracing the theme of creative coding. Students can research open source programming languages to create graphics. Students will have the option to pursue this as opposed to their own tech study. Additional new initiatives for the help desk this year includes a  plan to integrate group webcasts on instructional technology topics. We want to continually bridge the gap between students skills and application of technology and the teacher’s use in the classroom.

Prototype Classrooms
At the close of the last school year an opportunity arose to update 3 classrooms at Andover High School as well as the Media Center with 21st century learning furniture. During the month of August furniture was dilligently put together and represent three prototype classrooms. The classrooms are aimed to be models of furniture which supports learning with technology and also making classrooms more adaptable and flexible to group learning.

In two English classrooms and one math classroom students have some pretty cool new desks and tables. The library also has new tables and chairs are on the way to have a new 21st century feel to the space. Moving forward this library space will shift from a static space to one in which it will be easier for students to use their laptops and other computing devices to research,communicate and collaborate. We look forward to seeing this space transform.