April 27, 2012
 Our Vision: Ignite Passion. Inspire Excellence. Imagine Possibilities.

Each day the influence of technology on student learning grows, whether students are creating their own lessons to share with the class on a SMART Board, Skyping with learners in other schools, or sharing their literary inspirations on the class blog. Kids seem to take to technology naturally, but their parents are sometimes daunted by the terminology, the software and even the devices themselves. Tuesday's Tech Night, organized by district Instructional Technology Specialist Christina Kellam, gave parents a chance to see some of these activities first hand, learn about resources for use at home, and even play around with an iPad. Ms. Kellam, who works closely with teachers to help them integrate technology into their instruction, invited a number of teachers to share their technology experiences with parents. If you missed the evening, below are some highlights.
Learner Characteristics: Everything starts with the District 41 Learner Characteristics, which are the foundation for 21st Century Learning for adults and students. Benjamin Franklin Literacy Specialist Stacy Slater gave an overview of these skills, habits and attributes, and explained how they are being made more visible in the schools in kid-friendly ways (students made the Learner Characteristic poster at left using comic book software). SMART Boards: Benjamin Franklin fourth-grade teacher Sarah Rodriguez demonstrated the SMART Board's touchscreen attributes, using her fingers to drag icons, turn pages and use cool features like the screen shade to gradually reveal information. She showed how it can be operated either by touching the board itself or from the teacher's computer, and how the technology brings multiple resources together, allowing users to access interactive lessons from online resources, link to Web sites, draw on or highlight material and save original creations for later use. Skype: Skype video-phone technology allows students in different places to see, hear, and learn from each other. Churchill first-grade teacher Whitney Crouch and Ms. Rodriguez recounted a contest between their two classes conducted via Skype involving a construction project using marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti. Social media: Social media can be a powerful learning tool, and teachers know how to use it safely so that student privacy is protected. Parents learned the difference between blogs (mainly one person sharing content) and wikis (more interactive, designed for collaboration). Hadley technology teacher Kelly Lewis showed how her classes use Edmodo to create an online collaborative space where they can post work, interact with the teacher and share ideas. Edmodo has some Facebook-like features, but does not allow students to go beyond the environment set up by the teacher. Ms. Kellam explained how teachers use Twitter to communicate with parents and to ignite student interest in writing. 
iPads: Small and sleek, iPads offer a huge range of "apps" or applications, many of which are free. Students of all ages enjoy sharing their learning with video and Ms. Crouch and Hadley teacher Christina Graves showed videos made by their students using iPads.

The district Web site 
is where parents can find curricular information, the Learner Characteristics and teacher Web sites. They can also visit each school's Library Media Center page, which has links to learning resources, many of which can be accessed from a home computer. Read below for more examples of learning with technology. 

* Hadley Library Media Center Co-Director Chris Abbott is teaching students to use the cataloging and search program Destiny to recommend books to their friends and peers, as well as share comments and reviews. The Hadley LMC has also purchased a collection of e-books for students to check out on desktop computers or on their personal mobile devices.
* Willie DiFabio, substitute teacher and former D41 board member, is sharing his hiking adventure on the Appalachian Trail with students via his Web site, Twitter and Skype. Mr. DiFabio shares his daily progress as well as historical and geographical information about the trail. His site includes video interviews he has conducted with hikers and others he has met along the way, as well as photos and links to resources. 
* Abraham Lincoln fifth grade teachers Patty Harte Naus and Brian Pindar have developed a bully-prevention web site based on Ms. Harte Naus's book, "Belden Boy." The book is about Peter McDugal, a boy who attended a one-room school house 100 years ago and who deals with bullying. Students can submit questions online to Peter about bullying-related issues and "Peter" answers.
* Physical education teachers are using iPad apps that include videos to let kids see what they are doing right and what they can improve.
* Hadley teacher Kelly Lewis's students used the free iPad app Aurasma to post short biographical videos about the subjects of their research. Anyone with the app can scan the photo to access the student's video. The project helped students build skills in research, summarizing and editing, and combined technology, literacy and social studies.
* Hadley music teacher Paul Marchese's students used iPads and the GarageBand app to create "covers" of favorite rock tunes. They created their own electronic instrumentation and recorded their own voiceovers. Each "cover" was displayed the on the Smart Board, with diagnostic imaging looking much like a patient monitoring system.


Join the Churchill School Environmental Club and the Glen Ellyn Park District Environmental Club for ECO - Friendly Fun Day on May 12. Click here for more information on this free event. 

The Village of Glen Ellyn is maintaining a Web site for information on the Hawthorne Blvd. construction project. Bookmark it for easy reference.

Have you checked E-Backpack lately? There are postings of district and community events and opportunities, including educational and recreational activities for the whole family. Postings are updated frequently.

Please direct your questions or comments to District 41 Director of Communications and Grants Julie Worthen at jworthen@d41.org. We ask that you do not reply directly to this email. Thank you!