Bloomfield School District Technology Newsletter

January 2018

Spring 2018 Teacher Academy

The Bloomfield Teacher Academy is designed to allow teachers to instruct their colleagues in academic topics and pedagogical methods that will improve student learning and overall instruction. The premise is that no one is better able to help a teacher in Bloomfield than another teacher in the same school, or at least the same district. We all cope with the same issues: technology, paperwork, students, community, evolving standards, and district culture. The original focus was technology, but courses are not limited to technology. Teachers can offer courses in any topic or pedagogy or issue where they believe their insight or talent would benefit their peers.

The Teacher Academy is, in effect, an attempt to integrate the contexts of the TPACK framework for Professional Development. Within an environment that specifically encourages effective use of the appropriate Technology, the Teacher Academy encourages teachers to share and extend their Content Knowledge, while exchanging best practices in Pedagogy and how best to instruct students. In all areas, particularly Content and Pedagogy, supervisors and principals are invaluable aids. See links on this page for a fuller explanation of the TPACK model for PD.

Since the Academy began two years ago, it has grown and the courses have been very positively reviewed. Here is a massive report on all course evaluations, beginning with the most recently offered courses. Here is a briefer report. In both reports, note that the summary returns --on a 5-point scale-- are very favorable and a compliment to the instructors:

But there will be a few changes to the Teacher Academy this spring.

Your school’s or department’s Tech Committee representative can explain in greater detail, but the reasons for the changes boil down to the fact that it is impossible to budget adequately for the Academy when more than ⅓ of the people who sign-up fail to show-up for the actual courses. It is encouraging that the number of teachers registering for courses each term is increasing. But it is difficult to plan for this increase when the rate of attendance has been going down. The full analysis prompting these changes is here. Moreover, with a restricted budget, we want to offer the best, highest quality courses for teacher PD.

Here are the changes:

  • All course proposals have to be submitted between 1/3/18 and 2/2/18. (Actually, you can begin to prepare a course proposal right now and then return to edit it later.) Here is the link for making a course proposal. Simply click on "New" or "New Item" and fill out the fields. Click "Submit" or Save when done. You can return to complete your proposal any time prior to 2/2/18.
  • Registrations will take place on-line between 2/5/18 and 2/23/18. Here is where teachers can register for courses during that period of time. Simply click on "New" or "New Item," select the desired course, and click Submit. (Please note that you must be logged into the SharePoint to register for a course. No one else can register for you.)
  • All course proposals have to be approved by a supervisor, principal, or director. Course instructors are encouraged to collaborate with a related content area administrator as they develop their course objectives. Likewise, related content area administrators are encouraged to offer positive support and constructive collaboration. Our shared goal is to ensure that courses are academically related and enhance effective teaching practices. There is a new drop down in the course proposal form to indicate the name of the approving administrator.
  • All courses have to be offered within two ‘windows.’ The first window will be from Monday, 3/5/18 to Friday 3/23/18; the second will be from Monday, 5/14/18 to Friday, 5/25/18.
  • Teachers can sign-up for courses in either or both windows. The two windows are meant to make it easier for everyone to plan for when the courses are offered. Further, the first window in March accommodates instructors with topics that would benefit teachers who may want to implement what they learn in their classrooms. The second window in May is to accommodate teachers who have after school commitments in March, such as coaches.
  • Everyone is limited to five (5) total registrations for the entire spring term. No one can take more than five (5) courses over both sessions.

Other elements of the Academy are unchanged: the contractual reimbursement rate remains $31/hour; instructors are compensated 80 minutes for every hour of instruction and expected to secure or reserve the room used for the course in the specific date and time, as well as communicate with the attendees beforehand, and submit attendance sign-ins after the course is over.

We hope every teacher who knows that she or he has an insight or talent that would benefit their colleagues will propose a course. Approach the relevant supervisor, or your principal, and obtain their insight into important topics to cover, as well as pedagogy to follow. And it is hoped that the Academy can continue in the summer with another offering of classes.

Please approach your Tech Committee rep with any questions, or greater explanation. She, he, or you can always email Tom Atkinson.

​BHS Student Tech Squad - Student Printing in the HS

The BHS Student Tech Squad has put together a set of simple step-by-step instructions on alternatives to using Google Cloud Print! If the cloud print server stops working (this should only affect Chromebooks), you can use any of the methods listed. If you have any questions, you can direct them to the STS or myself!

(See below, or use this link - https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1bOeQGhnf15yabUCs2AtnpOvsTyQG85BnRIj2qgmhhr4/present)
George Agens
Technology Integration Coach
Tech Committee
Bloomfield High School
(973) 680-8600 ext. 4323
gagens@bloomfield.k12.nj.us
@MrAgensELA
Printing Without Cloud Print

Interesting Thoughts and Readings . . .

Dr. Greg Caverly is a Supervisor of Technology at Cranford in Union. He implemented a 'Flipped Classroom,' where students view videos and learn new material at home, usually via online access. At school, they work on what would have been traditional 'homework.' He found that -

  • Parents can complain that the teacher is not doing his job. Where the teacher previously stood before the entire class, he can often find himself in the 'Flipped Classroom' working mainly with the students most in need of help.
  • Older students, 12th graders, objected that they had spent 12 years learning one way and did not like having to learn in this new format.
  • PowerPoints were the least favored medium for learning.
  • Math was deemed least compatible with Flipped Learning, as a teacher was often required to explain concepts in the initial learning stages.
  • For all its many problems, Flipped Learning usually increases either or both student performance, or engagement. But not always. Usually.

See Flipped Classroom_NJECC_12-15-17. (2017). Google Docs. Retrieved 22 December 2017, from https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lvibGa4g1_DO7bhXT_s2iZtHf0QxrxMb2HPdK0Ubma4/edit#slide=id.gc6f73a04f_0_0


Last year, when Mrs. Vayda-Manzo, MS Principal, met with a group of students engaged in the Chromebook Pilot, several of the students commented that they needed instruction in "organizing" their online material. They needed help managing their Google Drives and materials for class. In the three minute extract from the student video for 9th grade orientation, the current 9th graders at the HS --some of whom were on the panel interviewed by Mrs. Vayda last year and all of whom now have Chromebooks as 9th graders-- comment that the devices improve their organization and make it easier to manage their classroom materials!! Good work, everybody, including -or especially- the students!! See 1:1 CHROMEBOOK INITIATIVE AT BHS. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 22 December 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxKqhDPQptI&feature=youtu.be

Did you know . . .

The 'Flipped Classroom' started in Colorado, where it took baseball teams hours to travel to interscholastic games. Consequently, the teams often had to leave school early and missed instruction. Teachers of the later periods began recording their lectures and classes and putting them online for the athletes. Eventually, the other students began to ask for access to the recorded lessons. Teachers found that their students were performing better and seemed more engaged with their learning. The 'Flipped Classroom' was born. (Or so I was told.)

'Blended Learning' has a lot of detractors. Some think it means learning only online and without a teacher. Critics of blended learning say students should have LESS exposure to computer screens. They fear the loss of student-teacher time. (See Chow, L. (2014). Blended Learning: This Controversial Approach is Transforming Classrooms. NationSwell. Retrieved 22 December 2017, from http://nationswell.com/blended-learning-computer-teacher-online-education/ .) A good, defensible definition appears to be this: A formal education program in which a student learns, at least in part, through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick and mortar location away from home. (Staker, H., & Horn, M. B. (2012). Classifying K-12 Blended Learning, p. 3 ).