Aurora Public Schools – Cathie English The goals of our project, “Finding a Voice: Student Writers and Digital Media” are improving student writing in several genres, improving student speaking abilities, providing opportunities to build interpersonal skills with community members, and gaining technological skills using several software programs. Students in grades 9-12 language arts classes will write in several genres and then transform these genres into digital mediums such as a podcast or movie. Some of the genres include short story (ghost story), play, radio show, and oral history. Once students have written and revised their pieces, they will create a digital product of the writing piece. Short stories, plays and radio shows that replicate past radio shows would be made into podcasts. The oral histories would become movies with a narrative of a person’s life along with photographs and music. Once these projects are complete, with permission from student writers or interviewees, they will be uploaded onto our school we3bsite. One of the best ways to improve writing scores is for students to write: the more practice students have in writing in several genres, the better their writing is. As students gain confidence in their writing, and when they find their “voice” through several writing opportunities, their academic achievement also improves. Student achievement also improves when they have an opportunity to create and proble3m solve using different software applications such as Audacity and MovieMaker. Students learning these new skills will make them better prepared for a world of growing technological development. Ogallala Public Schools – Susan McBride Krab The Science and Technology-Infuses Learning with Laptops Project (STILL) “In Keith County it is safe to stand by the water and watch . . .” -John Janovy, Jr. Keith County Journal, pg. 75 Although in this instance Janovy is speaking specifically of Blackflies swarming on rocks in the Platte River, his observation holds true for Keith County’s other water resources too. With their access to TV and the Internet, students today are more likely to learn about “wilds” of Africa or South America jungles than the “wilds” of their own backyards. As part of the Science and Technology Infused Learning with Laptop (STILL) projects, students will utilize a mobile laptop to study Ogallala’s water resources, developing reading, writing and technology skills in the process. The key goals of the Projects are to: Deliver and infuse science curriculum across a variety of core subjects, including Reading, Writing and Math. Implement the delivery of authentic and collaborative learning projects Assist students in the equitable acquisition of necessary 21st century technology skills Use laptops to improve student learning and motivation by utilizing a kinesthetic learning style. Train instructors to incorporate laptops and scientific equipment to create and assess laptop lessons. During the course of the STILL project, science students in grades 6-10 will take field trips and study Lake McConaughey, the South Platte River, and Humphrey’s pond, a small watershed south of Ogallala. They will be asked to experiment and collect data and then present their results to classmates and to the community through the creation of brochures and web pages. At the request of the Optimists, the Community group overseeing Humphrey’s pond, students in the 8th grade will specifically focus on the pond, assess dissolved oxygen and other water qualities. Like the other students, they will communicate their findings to the community. In addition, some will address the Optimists at their weekly meetings. Through its use of a small, mobile Macbook lab and testing equipment, the STILL Project will provide a number of opportunities for students to engage in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. Science instructors at the middle school and high school will receive training and continued guidance on the creation and assessment of lessons that are key components of the Project. …and maybe students will learn the value of just taking time to sit by the water and watch. Seward Public Schools – Michelle Looky Alan November, futurist and keynote speaker for NETA stated during his April 2007 address that students in other countries (i.e. Japan and China) are hungry for the jobs available in our country, that those countries are focusing on educating only their brightest students, and that those numbers are more than all our students. The future of our students and our country is in danger if we do not improve our students’ education. They are competing with a global network of workers and it is more imperative than ever to have our students well prepared! Research shows that the ability to recall basic math facts fluently is necessary for students to attain higher-order math skills. Our middle school has identified many students who lack fluency in math facts. This project will focus on raising all students’ math fluency so they are capable of learning high-level math concepts. In addition, to have the students’ educational experience more relevant, real world tools will be utilized (blogs, discussion groups, email, podcasts). Computers will be purchased to allow the students to have access to the research- based FASTT (Fluency and Automaticity through Systematic Teaching with Technology) Math program to improve math fluency. Research has shown that when used daily for a minimum of 10 minutes, most math-delayed students can develop fluency with all basic facts. In order to demonstrate the student learning is relevant to today’s world students will have daily activities centered around real world tools (blogs, discussion groups, podcasts, email, and online chats). These will be in a protected environment using an Angel online course management subscription. Activities will also include professional development for teachers: best practices for math instruction, brain research, and training on all the technology components mentioned above. Our goals for improving student learning for middle level math students include: Students will utilize research-based FASTT Math software to develop fluency with math facts. Using blogs, podcasts, gabcast, and discussion groups students will see the relevance of math to everyday living. Providing training to teachers so they can plan instructional strategies based on best practices identified through brain research. Utilizing technology to build stronger partnerships with parents and the greater community. Teachers will model the use of real world technologies as evidenced by utilizing podcasts to receive a monthly lesson on brain research. This grant supports 21st Century Skills acquisition and continuous school improvement efforts, enables teachers to increase students academic achievement, and helps students meet state standards. Hershey Public Schools – Jane Davis The goal of the Smart Cats projects is to expand our 9-12 grade language arts curriculum to meet the individual needs of diverse learners by extending the classroom into the mobile digital lifestyle of 21st Century students. To achieve this goal our district will implement the following: Provide staff and curriculum development on technology integration emphasizing interactive white board technology, 21st Century learning skills and research-based instructional strategies into language arts curricula. Integrate interactive white board technology, 21st Century learning skills and Marzano’s research-based instructional strategies into language arts curricula for the purpose of improving student academic achievement and teacher effectiveness. Create student-centered digital projects that assess NE L.E.A.R.N.S. and aligns with the framework for 21st Century Learning. Our proposal will place interactive white boards into the 9-12 grade language arts classrooms and SPED department. LA and SPED teachers will attend monthly staff development sessions that help utilize technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and research-based instructional strategies such as note-taking, graphical organizers, summarizing techniques and evaluation strategies into their curriculum as outlined in our local school improvement plan. We will also provide staff development on integrating interactive white board technology into current curriculum and staff development on our content management system “MyElearning” and how to upload and download digital curriculum content to mobile devices (laptops and iPods). LA and SPED teachers will design and implement units of study that use interactive white board technology, productivity software, (i.e. PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Inspiration, Movie Maker), and incorporate NE L.E.A.R.N.S. and 21st Century learning skills into the 9-12 grade language arts curriculum. Specific 21st Century learning skills that will be emphasized include: Core Subjects: language arts. 21st Century Learning Content: global awareness. Learning and Thinking Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, communication, creativity and innovation, collaboration, information and media literacy and contextual learning. ICT Literacy: incorporating learning into the students’ mobile digital lifestyle. Life Skills: accountability, adaptability, personal productivity, personal responsibility, people skills, and self direction. This project is a natural fit into the other technologies that are implemented at Hershey High School. We are currently beginning the 2nd year of project LEAP “Laptops Enhancing Academic Performance.” All students and teachers in grades 9-12 are provided with a laptop to use at school and at home. All teacher classrooms are equipped with LCD projectors and all teachers utilize PowerPoint for classroom notes and lectures. Our SPED department utilizes iPods by reading textbooks into the iPod so that students can hear audio and follow the written text. Our verified SPED population is 13 percent of our students and identified HAL population is 9%. By implementing interactive white board technology, more staff development on MyElearning and related software in language arts curriculum, our students will learn 21st Century skills by incorporating it into their digital mobile lifestyle. Our project, “Smart Cats”, aligns with the goals of the State Board of Education, Nebraska Department of Education, and 21st Century learning skills. It will provide appropriate technology resources, and staff development on technology integration that is aligned with the goals of the reading action plan in our local school improvement plan. Lincoln Public Schools – Tom Ahlschwede The integration of technology into classrooms provides educators with new and different ways to present curriculum and help them connect classroom activities to real life experiences. There are many technological resources currently available including websites, specific curricular modeling software packages, and technical hardware. Many of these are just electronic extensions of past instructional models with no instructional adaptations, for example: Using a power point presentation instead of overhead transparencies, showing pictures of computer generated graphs instead of drawing graphs by hand, or creating assessments to be taken online instead of using written tests and bubble-type answer sheets. This project would incorporate using current technology and software with instructional adaptations so that low level and underachieving students in a core mathematics curriculum would not only experience the curriculum from a technological point of view, but also incorporate the technology so that they begin to take ownership of the curriculum. This project will fund the purchase of three separate video production labs. Each mobile production lab will include a laptop computer, a digital video camera, and microphone. During each week, a group of students will be assigned the task of creating a movie to summarize the content that was learned for the week. They will write the script, summarize the curricular content, create the video, present it to the class, and then post the video to the class webpage so that it can be viewed for review purposes, for students who missed class, and archived for other classes and semesters. Additionally, the participating teachers will use the video labs to create video lesson plans as the semester progresses. These will be archived and can be used in any class in the future. This project has several goals, including: Raise achievement rates for 1st year algebra students Decrease the number of students who fail core curriculum classes Increase student participation Help close the achievement gap for underserved students Create a databank of teacher-created classroom videos. Student achievement will be enhanced as students take ownership of the material that they are responsible for presenting. In small groups, students will also be able to learn valuable lessons about team work, goal setting, division of duties, organization, and scheduling. There are many classroom activities that can be used to help students take ownership of a particular curriculum: graphic organizers, pair-share activities, and jigsaw activities to name a few. This project is another avenue toward the goal of giving the student the power to become the teacher while activating their creativity with a current and sustainable technology.