Computer Science Education Week is December 8th – 14th and to celebrate teachers and students throughout the world will be participating in The Hour of Code. This is being called the largest education event in history and the goal is to have 100 million students participating in this year’s event.
“The Hour of Code is organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. An unprecedented coalition of partners have come together to support the Hour of Code, too — including Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board.” (www.code.org)
STEM education and specifically computer science education is vital to the economic growth and workforce needs of our nation, our state, and according to the Columbus 2020, Columbus Region, Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Update, the Columbus region. “There is a common perception that the K-12 education system is not meeting the needs of employers (pg. 53).” And a threat to the competitiveness of the Columbus region is the” limited availability of graduates in science, technology, engineering and math” (pg. 53).
Also in the CEDS report: “The Ohio State University (OSU) and Columbus State Community College (CSCC), the Columbus Region’s two largest post-secondary educational institutions produce thousands of skilled graduates each year in a diversity of fields. Software & Computer Science degrees were notably low at both schools, particularly in light of the thriving technology sector in the Columbus Region. Employers throughout the Region also noted low availability of software and information technology workers. In 2012, CSCC only awarded 89 Software & Computer Science degrees, and OSU only awarded 115 (pg. 33).”
Help support the teaching and learning of computer science education in Ohio schools. Teachers, give your students the opportunity to learn more about this crucial and amazing field of study. Spark their interest by participating in The Hour of Code. Principals, sign up your schools! Parents, ask your child’s school to get involved! This is going to be a major learning event that every Ohio student and educator should experience. To learn more, visit code.org.
I’m always amazed at how little students know about the ethical, legal, and responsible use of information. A few weeks ago, I taught over a hundred 6th-grade students about copyright, fair use, and public domain. Before the lesson, most students believed that if an image or video or song was on the Internet, it was free for them to use – especially if they were using it for school. WRONG! Everyone should assume that nothing on the Internet is free to use. At a minimum, credit should be given to the creator unless the website being used specifically states credit is not needed.
I have found that some educators are confused about fair use as well. Just because something is being used for school does not give educators carte blanche to use whatever they want and how much they want. There are limitations and guidelines. For example, under fair use guidelines, only 10% or three-minutes of a video can be used for educational purpose without asking permission of the producers. However, if a teacher has been reading the book The Outsiders with her class, he/she can show the movie The Outsiders to students in the classroom to help connect the curriculum. BUT, the principal of the school would not be compliant to the fair use guidelines if he/she showed The Outsiders movie to the entire school in the gymnasium as a reward or incentive. That would be a copyright violation.
Four factors should be considered when determining whether or not one is compliant with fair use guidelines: What is the nature of the work to be used? How much of it will be used? What is it being used for (parody, criticism, commentary, etc.)? What effect, if any, would the use have on the market?
As adults and educators, it is my opinion we should be modeling the ethical, legal, and responsible use of information on a daily basis. Regardless of the project, as educators when we ask students to locate and use any information, we should be requiring students to give credit to the source. What good does it do students to receive a lesson in ethical, legal, and responsible use of information if the adults in their lives don’t demonstrate or expect the same?
Copyright, fair use, and public domain is confusing. But it’s the responsibility of all of us to make sure we are teaching students how to be good digital citizens. Below are some great links about copyright and fair use for teachers and students to reference when needed.
Westerville Partners for Education
(image to the right taken from commons.wikipedia.org)
This year, Westerville City Schools is piloting the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) with full implementation in the 2015-2016 school year. Teachers will be evaluated on their performance and on student growth. After reviewing the evaluation rubric, one standard that jumped out at me was Standard 6: Collaboration and Communication. This standard is mentioned in the “Instruction and Assessment/Classroom Environment” section of the rubric and specifically states:
“The teacher engages in two-way, ongoing communication with families that results in active volunteer, community, and family partnerships which contribute to student learning and development.”
It is also mentioned in the “Professionalism/Professional Responsibilities” section of the rubric stating:
“The teacher communicates effectively with students, families, and colleagues.”
Teachers must consider many scenarios when figuring out the best way to communicate with the families of their students. What tools can teachers use for effective, ongoing communication? What if a student has more than one address? What if a student does not have Internet access at home? How would a student get in touch with their teacher at night if there was a question on homework? Does the student even have homework support at home?
These questions and many more are answered in a great Edutopia blog post on parent partnerships called “12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know”. Reading the post gave me many ideas on how I can help support more collaboration with families in my school. My biggest takeaway from the blog post was there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to communication. Implementing a variety of thoughtful strategies will result in teachers being successful with the upcoming OTES evaluation.
Westerville Partners for Education
September’s Fourth Friday was so much fun. We handed over over 300 books to kids! We’ll do it again next September (and we hope to see many of those families at BOO! for Books on October 24!)
Get ready for BOO! on October 24th in Uptown Westerville on College Street.
There are 3 Ways get a 15-minute photo session and print of your child in costume
1. Donate $10 to WPE at BOO!
2. Bring gently used children’s books to BOO! We’ll deduct $1 for each acceptable book off the cost of the session and print ($10).
3. Bring 10 books and your session and print are FREE!
(This is a great way to find a good home for those books on your bookshelves that no one reads anymore.) Proceeds from the event support WPE’s mission and donated books support our Book Bonanza! program in the district.
This program is a partnership between Wes Kroninger Photography and Westerville Partners for Education.
Personal Learning Networks
I like to consider myself a lifelong learner and consistently pursue professional and personal knowledge. And I think it’s important to model that behavior for children so they understand that learning doesn’t just occur in school. When I became a teacher, one of my first objectives was to locate and add professional connections to my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I have found these connections to be invaluable and recommend a robust PLN to both new, and more-seasoned, professionals.
- Subscribe to a website aggregator like Zite. Instead of searching individual websites, Zite will retrieve articles and online information specifically tailored to your interests. The more articles you open and “thumbs-up”, the more focused Zite’s searches for you become.
- Find a blog that provides you with valuable information and subscribe to its RSS feed (like WPE’s Teacher Tools blog!).
- Take advantage of all the great webinars on org.
- Join a social learning network like the Knowledge Building Commons (KBC) of INFOhio.org.
- Join an educational listserv specifically geared towards your interests.
- Read! Or better yet, start a workplace book study. (I recommend the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck)
- Set up a group in a Course Management System (CMS) like Schoology and invite like-minded professionals to collaborate and join online chats.
- Become involved in community organizations that support the schools like Westerville Partners for Education (WPE), Westerville Education Foundation (WEF), your school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), or Westerville Parent Council (WPC).
- In addition to attending district waiver days and individual building meetings, try out an educational conference like one listed in the following article: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/09/26-great-conferences-for-teachers-to.html
Whether you decide to try out one new thing or several, the important thing is to keep learning! Not only will you benefit from the others’ knowledge, but others will also appreciate your contributions.
Westerville Partners for Education
Volunteers from Westerville Partners for Education and Kiwanis of Westerville brought a very special Birthday Book Bonanza! program to the Early Learning Center on Tuesday. Teachers chose a special book from the Book Bonanza! collection for each students who had celebrated a birthday over the summer months. WPE supplied the Early Learning Center teachers with enough books to ensure that all the preschool students will receive a book from the Book Bonanza! collection to celebrate their birthdays this year. The Birthday Book Bonanza! program at the ELC aims to inspire students to develop a lifetime love of reading by encouraging them to bring the book home, act out its stories with their families, explore the illustrations and discuss the story.
Westerville Partners for Education and Kiwanis collect gently used books from Half Priced Books and from the community and create book distribution events at schools called Book Bonanza! McGraw Hill generously sponsors this program. There are thousands of used children’s books, in great condition, on shelves in homes and around town. Volunteers collect and repurpose these books, review them to ensure they are in good condition and the material is appropriate, research their AR level, and get them in the hands of kids in the Westerville City School District. To find out more about Book Bonanza! and other Westerville Partners for Education programs (or to donate books!) click here or find us on Facebook or Twitter (@WVillePartners).
We’re hosting a very special version of our popular Book Bonanza! program next week! We’re having a Birthday Book Bonanza! at the ELC! We’ll be handing out a “just right” book for every child who celebrated a birthday over the summer months. We’ll be leaving a special stock of books with the ELC teachers to ensure that, going forward, all the children of the ELC receive a book to keep on their birthdays. We hope families will read the book together, explore the illustrations, act out the story and just having fun with their book. We put on the Book Bonanza! program in partnership with Kiwanis of Westerville and it is sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education.
There is so much information online that it’s difficult to not only locate useful resources, but to also keep up with the latest and greatest tools to support learning needs. As a school librarian, one resource I frequently use with parents, students, and teachers is INFOhio.
Since 1989, INFOhio has consistently improved to fit the needs of Ohio K-12 education. This summer, INFOhio overhauled its website and refined its navigation to make it easier to locate information and valuable resources. Students continually benefit from INFOhio’s research tools, online encyclopedias, digital video collection, ebooks, Learning Express Library, and multiple databases. Teachers find useful the online learning networks, webinars, iMatrix, lesson plans, College and Career Readiness resources, and curriculum toolkits. Parents benefit from the Adult Learning Center, Career Center, Job and Career Accelerator, and Computer Skills Center of Learning Express Library 3.0 as well as multiple other resources.
There are so many amazing tools and sources of information available on the INFOhio website and INFOhio offers trained professionals (ICoaches) in the Westerville City School District to teach teachers how to use INFOhio and effectively integrate its plethora of resources into their classrooms. The district’s first Professional Development day for the school year is tomorrow. Students will not have classes on this day while district teachers attend various learning sessions at Westerville Central High School. Throughout the day, District certified ICoaches will provide several learning opportunities for teaching professionals.
If you get a chance, check out INFOhio. Some resources require a username and password to access from home. This information can be obtained from any librarian or teacher in the district. Conveniently, login is automatic when students are accessing INFOhio from school. Regardless of the access point, you’ll be amazed at what’s available at your fingertips. And the best part is it’s all FREE!
For more information on resources for teachers and tools to support education right here in our district, check out Westerville Partners for Education on Twitter (@WVillePartners). You can also see a list of local and regional organizations interested in working with teachers and supporting classroom education through our STEAMHub program (westervillepartnersforeducation.org).