With great power comes great responsibility. At Hopkins School, students and teachers are exploring their new technological superpowers while learning strategies to help them become outstanding digital citizens. What force has brought this new bounce to the building?
This year Hopkins School met a major instructional technology goal when the school doubled the number of Chromebooks. Each student now has access to the tool throughout the school day. Here are some graphical insights into how our students and staff are rising to the potentiality and challenges that accompany our new capabilities.
While the story of the Chromebooks continues to play out at Hopkins, one thing is clear. Students and staff have pledged to use our new powers for the good!
By: Steph Doty
Technology Integration Coordinator
@HopkinsTechLib / @BlendedTeaching
Cross-posted to blendedteachingtimes.wordpress.com
The All-New Breakout EDU
The new Breakout EDU Platform provides you with 300+ games that were previously available are still available for free on the new platform.
In addition to the hundreds of free games and resources, they are launching two new premium elements. On the platform you will find 100+ new “Subject Packs” that contain games for specific content areas and a tool for building custom digital games.
Here’s a list of the first collections. If you don’t see the game you’re looking for, you can request new game topics.
The NEW Breakout EDU Digital
They’ve created a new tool where you can build and share custom digital games with your students and see their results. Click here to play a sample Halloween game created for elementary students. Learn more about the new tool at BreakoutEDU.com/digital
Breakoutedu has new locks with their packaged boxes that let you change the type of lock per game!
Breakoutedu also works well with Brainpop
By Chrystal Hoe, Secondary Technology Integration Coordinator, GET & GCI
Whether students are focusing on a subject area, social emotional learning, or both, Seesaw has been invaluable in empowering their learning. Hundreds of students at both Center and Elmwood are not only engaged in their work, but are able to reflect on it as Seesaw not only serves as an online classroom, but as a digital portfolio for each student.
One of the most valued Seesaw perks is the immediate connection to families. Once families download the app, they have a window into their child’s learning. Every time a post is approved by the teacher, they receive a notification that their child’s learning experience is waiting for them. Just as the teacher can do, they are able to “like” what they see as well as provide feedback for their child.
In addition, teachers can send family announcements, using Seesaw as a way to communicate what’s happening in the classroom. Also a practical way to remind families about important events, Seesaw creates a team of people supporting students.
Check out this student intro presentation for Seesaw and video introduction for families!
The teacher benefits are incredible. Teachers are able to assess even our youngest students in new and exciting ways and ideas are spreading across both buildings at a rapid pace. Why not take a picture of the book you’re reading and and record your voice explaining why you chose it? Or draw a picture of a noun, write an expanded sentence about it, and record your voice reading your sentence? Or select the tool of your choice to express your hopes and dreams for the year and how you shine! The ideas and opportunities for teachers to not only assess student understanding, but learn about each child and build relationships are endless.
A third grader works on expanded sentences.
A second grader shows and explains his understanding of even numbers.
If you are an educator and are interested in using Seesaw with your students, please see your building technology integration specialist. The potential is limitless and I can’t wait to see how this fabulous tool continues to empower classrooms in Hopkinton.
As September came to a close, 40 Hopkinton High School students trekked into Cambridge to hear a lecture by Harvard University’s David Malan. Already familiar with the professor from screening recorded lectures, the opportunity to see him live gave students a glimpse of both the teacher and the university setting.
Dr. Malan created CS50, an introductory computer science course, offered both on campus to enrolled Harvard students but also open to the world as a massive open online course for anyone interested via edX. It is currently the largest course offered at Harvard, Yale, and on the edX open online course platform.
Two sections of Hopkinton’s Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles were joined by students from the Mobile App Development and Game Design courses, as well as the Girls Who Code club on the visit Harvard.
The live lecture in the Sanders Theater, located in the High Victorian Gothic Memorial Hall, was quite a change of pace from a typical class at the high school.
“Seeing it live really made the computer science class come to life because we had just seen [Dr. Malan] on video,” sophomore Allison Fu said. “Now I can see him in person and directly engaging with the audience and the students actively participating in the lecture. That really made me enjoy it even more.”
More akin to a televised event, a team of Harvard students recorded the lecture for the open online version of the course. The lecture is already available online.
“It as really an enlightening experience with a ton of information and the lecturer was actually really nice too,” senior Kent Berlin said.
During the lecture, Dr. Malan explored basic data structures in command line arguments. Students watched in the classic theater mixed with current Harvard students enrolled in the course.
“I thought it was really a great opportunity for HHS students to witness the curriculum they will experience but in a college level lecture hall. I hope it shows them just how much they are capable of learning,” said librarian and computer science teacher Kirsten Fournier.
The field trip offered multiple courses a chance to visit Harvard’s campus and gain a glimpse into what it might be like to potentially major in computer science as an undergraduate.
“In our Mobile App Development class, we use MIT App Inventor, where they learn the basic concept of coding but it’s not the line by line experience of a higher level computer programming language,” Mike McFarland said. “It exposed the students to a real-world example of what a computer science degree entails and a look at the level detail involved.”
Alison Fu said, “We are all interested in maybe having a computer science as a major in college. To go on this trip and have a feel of it really feels like and that was one of the main reasons I went on this trip.”
Since CS50 is also one of the AP approved curriculum providers for the high school Computer Science Principles course and exam, Fournier often uses or adapts lessons for use in the high school course. The public CS50 version includes publicly available tools like an integrated development environment (IDE), a debugger, and grading tool.
The course material also integrates easily with GitHub, a popular Internet open source storehouse and hosting service for all kinds of coders.
“The IDE that [CS50 course] provides is where we will be doing all of our programming,” Fournier explained. “Everyone can access it and easily submit their work through GitHub, which allows me to review and comment line by line.”
“[Students] can also see their classmates code and problem sets because not everyone is going to solve a problem the same way,” Fournier said.
“It’s the total package,” Fournier commented about the value of CS50.
For students, the day out provided an experience not possible in a Hopkinton classroom or through video recordings. Students generally enjoyed themselves.
“I thought it was really cool. I love Cambridge and the Boston area. And I thought the lecture was really interesting because I wanted to learn about CS and how its applied in a classroom setting, senior Ben Nigrosh said.
At the end of last year, four third grade classrooms were exploding with passion and students were running back even during the final days. Together with their teachers, they created a contagious energy that led us back to school wanting more.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about “Genius Hour” or “Innovation Time”, here is a great video to to help teachers and students when launching this new approach in education. “What is Genius Hour?” and a teacher’s curiosity together sparked student owned learning and empowerment just a few months ago in Room 202.
Once students had a grasp on their new role, they went beyond spreading awareness about endangered animals, a hurting environment, and food and water shortage. They became young innovators determined to solve a problem meaningful to them. Students rushed home to build prototypes, flood their living rooms with materials, and FaceTime their partners to plan next steps. They blew their parents, teachers, administrators (and peers!) away with the level of devotion they gave their learning as well as level of expertise they were able to display.
Kicking off their mission was a panel of sixth graders (at the time) who brilliantly shared their experiences (and became Genius Hour assistants). Third graders were sucked into their stories, and miraculously, these sixth graders remembered every single one of their classmate’s Genius Hour projects from two years prior. Questions were asked, mental and written notes were taken, and the focus was exceptional. These young third graders adopted a level of confidence their teachers knew would see them through.
Check out Elmwood School’s first ever Genius Hour!
Those of you who have ever asked students to design their own cardboard arcade I’m sure have been inspired by none other than Caine’s Arcade. If you haven’t, I highly recommend pausing this post and clicking on the link above! Christopher Weiss also shared his school’s Global Cardboard Challenge on Twitter, which helped two classrooms greatly to brainstorm and visualize ideas.
The skills (soft as well as academic) it took to build functioning games were of course off the charts. The energy, however, that naturally formed when families, teachers, and administrators came to play, provided a freedom for all to let go, be themselves, and have fun.
Check out Elmwood School’s first 3rd grade cardboard arcade created by Rooms 102 and 104
There is certainly something about Edcamp not just for us, but for the students we serve every day. Imagine students leading sessions based on something they’re passionate about. To help a few teachers I knew were intrigued, I found a video titled Edcamp 2016: Student Led at LTISD. Students and teachers alike immersed themselves in the story of another school and were thrilled to create their own experience.
Three classes gave Edcamp a go with their own unique twist. Below is just a glimpse into the magic they experienced.
Check out Elmwood School’s first Student Edcamp run by Rooms 104, 103, and 102
I hope the experiences of these now fourth grade students will serve as stories that will inspire other classes within our district so passion based learning and innovation can continue to grow.