Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Grade 8 Laptops: Leverage for the Future





Thanks to the foresight of the Nespelem School Board of Directors, the eighth grade students have MacBook Air laptops for all their class work. Students agree to a Responsible Use Policy as well as our Netiquette and District policies.

The School Board expects that the laptops will help students develop the skills and strategies of today's learners.

This is an honor the students have been preparing for by learning digital citizenship, accepting the Responsible Use Policy, and understanding the purposes for this privilege:

The Nespelem School District believes that in order for students to positively contribute to a 21st century global society, they must be globally aware, civically engaged, and capable of managing their lives. In this society, students also will need to be able to thoughtfully use information, media, and technology in order to succeed. The NSD provides technology resources with these goals for its students in mind.

The NSD believes the educational advantages of using technology outweigh the potential for misuse. The NSD has established safeguards to ensure the protection of staff and students. These safeguards ensure the benefits of technology, protect the corporation’s investment in hardware and software, and help to prevent misuse. Technology allows NSD users to access and utilize global resources, communicate and collaborate with other individuals/groups for educational purposes, and significantly expand access to digital curriculum and research.

The laptops provide these students with the tools that support the Common Core State Standards, especially in research and writing, but also in all subjects. The CCSS expects students to employ the process of inquiry, to read and research in depth and to communicate in multi-media ways to clearly explain their understanding of multiple views of issues. 


Please ask them about their progress and projects as they prepare for their futures with the tech tools that allow them to develop critical thinking and planning, thoughtful investigation and analysis, and collaborative actions and products. Our Writing Class Netiquette has guided this class since they started fifth grade; many of the skills and strategies they are already practicing.

We accept our responsibility to work hard on our goals, and to share what we learn with others. We are thankful for this opportunity. Our first day will be spent learning about the care of our laptops and to begin our journey of connecting and communicating globally by commenting on other middle school blogs from around the world.

In the top picture you see students working in their Online Reading Journals created in Google Presentation. Student reading notes and responses are recorded there, shared with teachers for feedback.  Anywhere the students have an internet connection and a connected device, they can access their school work. Students also maintain their OWN journal (Online Writing Notebook) in Google Presentation to write their notes and author craft tips. In a Google Doc, students create Cornell Notes and adapt them to the purpose needed. This November, the students will write novels for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.

As a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school, students have powerful, free tools to complete almost any assignment. We are also connected to Gooru Learning, a free learning system accessed through our GAFE to research on science, math, language arts, and social studies topics, organizing them into learning units. Students also take notes using Diigo, a free annotation and bookmarking platform. Be sure to read Ms Edwards's blog for more information of their work.

Read more about the program in The Star. We'll keep you informed of our journey -- our work as authors, historians, journalists, mathematicians, and scientists.


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