Sonoma County Office of Education

Technology for Learners

Blog: Technology for Learners

This blog focuses on the effective integration of technology in K-12 schools with special emphasis on Sonoma County. It offers ideas and resources to support purposeful use of technology in relation to the Common Core Standards and 21st century learning.

Author | Rick Phelan | Email | Follow on Twitter
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Launch of California School Dashboard
K-12 educators across the state are previewing a new electronic resource from the California Department of Education called the California School Dashboard.   The dashboard aims to provide metrics that will help parents, educators, and the public evaluate schools and districts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide targeted assistance. Indicators on the California School Dashboard are based on elements of California’s new K-12 school accountability system. Read More...

High School Coding Contest Results
The Sonoma County Office of Education sponsored a high school coding contest that culminated on Saturday, December 10. The contest challenged students to use programming and creativity skills with low-cost credit card sized computers known as a Raspberry Pi’s. This blog post shares information about the contest and its outcomes. Read More...

Breakout EDU- Activating Collaboration & Critical Thinking
Critical thinking and collaboration are key skills for 21st century citizens. Working to promote these skills, McKinley Elementary School teacher Matthew De Lucia-Zeltzer (Mr. D-Z) has been providing ‘Breakout EDU’ activities with his 4th & 5th grade students. Breakout EDU is a new game based activity where students collaborate to solve puzzles and unlock codes within a 45 minute time period. Finding answers to ‘Breakout EDU’ activities requires brainstorming and teamwork to arrive at solutions. This blog post describes Mr. D-Z’s Breakout EDU game efforts with students at McKinley Elementary School. Read More...

Guiding 2016-17 CAASPP Activities
As schools advance work in the 2016-17 school year, it’s wise to plan specific actions focused on California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance (CAASPP) tasks. Along with delivering the Smarter Balanced ELA and mathematics tests for grades 3-8 and 11, schools will also be piloting the new California Science Test. The California Science Test pilot will be administered to all students in grades 5 and 8 along with one assigned grade at the high school level. This blog post shares steps which can support readiness and positive student outcomes. Read More...

Promoting Access and Expression with Technology
California Standards require many learning ‘shifts’. One important shift involves differentiation for varied learning styles and abilities. Technology can play a key role in this differentiation. Digital learning materials can be personalized for learners according to their needs and interests. Technology can also provide different ways for students to demonstrate their understanding of standards and express themselves. This blog post offers ideas to support personalized learning with technology. Read More...

California’s New Accountability System Taking Shape
California’s State Board of Education took action to approve the Local Control Funding Formula’s initial evaluation rubrics on September 8. The rubrics set the foundations for California’s new local, state, and federal accountability system. This blog post shares information on the State Board of Education’s decision and how it reflects a new system for California public schools that supports districts in a process of continuous improvement. Read More...

Fall Sonoma County Google Apps for Education Bootcamp
The Sonoma County Office of Education, working in conjunction the Ed Tech Team, is pleased to present a Google Certified Educator Bootcamp. Bootcamps are preparatory courses for teachers who want to move forward and become officially certified in Google App skills. Read More...

Help Managing Smart Phone Use
Is it OK to text message during a family meal? This is one of the questions Sherry Turkle studies looking at evolving norms for behavior with technology. As an MIT professor, she is excited by technology but cautions that it may be taking us in places we don’t want to go. Turkle’s ideas are shared widely through a TED Talk with over 3 million views and numerous books presenting her insights: Life on the Screen, The Second Self, Alone Together, and Reclaiming Conversation. This blog post outlines some of Turkle’s observations about mobile technology specific to American society, parenting and how we can moderate some of the negative effects of mobile technology. Read More...

Ten Technology ‘Takeaways’ from the 2016 ISTE Conference
Over 14,000 educators gathered in Denver, Colorado from June 26 to June 29 at the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. Featuring hands-on workshops, keynote speakers, poster sessions, interest group meetings, technology playgrounds and vendor exhibits, representatives from 72 countries were present along with seven educators from Sonoma County: Patricia Amend-Ehn, Bob Bales, Patrick Daniels, John Magnoli, Rick Phelan, Christy Riddell, and Tracy Whitaker. This post shares my view of 10 significant themes with resources for follow-up from the 2016 ISTE conference. Read More...

5th Grade Connections from Russia
Petaluma High School’s Julia Fox is an American Field Service exchange student. For most of the 2015-16 school year, Julia has lived in Krasnador, a large city in southern Russia. She leveraged her experience to support 5th grade students in Sonoma County learning about world geography and other cultures. Over the course of this year, Julia has been in communication Geri Brown’s 5th grade class at Olivet School. This blog post offers insights into communication between Julia and the 5th grade class where technology has supported real time interaction and learning. Read More...

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