Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
Well, I think that the weather men got this one wrong! It was predicted that Hoover would get a dusting of snow today, but it turned into a little more than a dusting. We are planning our first ever Hoover Lock-In tonight, which will be fun!

The #USedchat was awesome last night! Jennifer Hogan will get the archives up soon via Storify. It was an awesome chat and I cannot wait to reread the feed! We have come a long way in 2 years and we are proud of our work building our PLN and sharing our story via Twitter.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From the iPad of Janet Ort...

Ever been to Little River Canyon? If not, you can do with our class! Visit our Alabama Biodiversity Facebook page to learn more.

From the iPad of Jennifer Hogan...

Good morning, everyone! This week’s newsletter focuses on technology to support the curriculum and instruction. I hope you find it useful, especially the link for “50 ways to use Skype in the classroom.” Currently, we have the first session of the online classroom management course going on as well as the TEDxThursdays during the month of January. If you would like to sign up to join tomorrow’s TEDxThursday, you have until noon today to sign up for it, and you can sign up for next week’s until noon next Wednesday. Click the link to sign up: http://bit.ly/1cNu5Kc   We have more PD opportunities coming up in February, and I will be sending out a separate email about those opportunities soon, so be on the lookout! J

Link to Newsletter:

If you have not checked out HHSbiz.com, you are missing a real treat! The business department at Hoover High School This site highlights not only the awesome things going on in Business & Technology education as well has it highlights students who are currently enrolled in these classes at HHS. Great job by the HHS business department!

Tweets from around HHS:


Friday, January 17, 2014

Hoover High School has a new Twitter handle thanks to the Social Media team that is a part of the new HHSiBucs Tech Team at HHS. Follow Hoover High School and all things Hoover at...


We will continue to use the hash tag #HHSiBucs. We would love to hear about what is going on in your classroom at #HooverHighBucs.

From the iPad of Nikki Robertson....

The following is the follow-up from the HHSiBucs Tech PLC Meeting on Tuesday.

Clean recording of Google 101 PD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3C8Xu-tlxg

Please provide feedback.  Follow the directions in this video to find the feedback document in your SHARED WITH ME Google Drive.  If you do not have a Google 101 Feedback document in your hcs-students.net drive please email me ASAP.

How to find your homework:

Our Pinterest Boards:

Math & Science Apps & Extensions: (How can I write mathematical equations and formulas in Google Docs?) https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FUX-V20eB_kXo2OWAuMuZCejgc6he6WOQy3JSs0Ov98/edit?usp=sharing

Curious how I recorded our sessions?  Learn more about Google Hangouts here:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Our Tech PLC went well on Tuesday and Ms. Nikki Robertson did a wonderful job with Google 101. Teachers were impressed with all of the functions of Google and I believe they learned a lot. Ms. Robertson stressed the importance of HHS continuing to move to incorporating lessons that are device agnostic (accessible on any device). She has created some Pinterest pages for our teachers to use as they are planning. Great Resource!


From the iPad of Hannah Zarzour...

My English 11 classes will begin a Passion Project this semester. Basically, students will research and blog about a topic chosen by them. I have asked that they use their hcs-students.net Google account and write under a pseudonym for privacy’s sake. I will be introducing the project on Tuesday. Students will go to the library Friday to set up their Blogger, and then we will begin writing! I’m hoping that giving students the opportunity to research and learn about things that they’re interested in, they will become more engaged in their writing. I will be providing a link to all of their blogs on my website http://zarzourenglish.weebly.com/  and on my blog http://hhshzarzour.blogspot.com/.
We cannot wait to see these student blogs Mrs. Zarzour! Great job!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I am very excited about HHSiBucs Tech PLC today! These meetings are designed to assist our teachers at Hoover High with the integration of technology into their classrooms. Commonly apps, websites, and strategies are shared be a variety of teachers, students, and administrators. Today I will be sharing a couple of useful websites that we have found (see below) as well as how I use Google+ to learn more about the use of Google Apps in Education. Nikki Robertson, one of our librarians at Hoover High, will also be sharing Google 101. We attempt to differentiate this PD session by offering it in a variety for formats. Nikki will present a hands-on session today during all periods, she has prepared an online version of this presentation, and I will share the Google in Education link below for those who would like to move at their own pace through Google. We try to meet the needs of all of our adult learners at Hoover High in the face ways we would our students. Not everyone is at the same level or on the same page and we want to respect this with our PD formats. 

Why reinvent the wheel. This is an awesome site for educators to use with apps organized based on content and areas of interest
Apps in Education: http://appsineducation.blogspot.com

Here is the Google website with training modules created by Google for you to work at your own page to learn more about Google Apps: http://edutraining.googleapps.com

 Why Google Apps in Education?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRYRbPCHTck#t=31

Seema Sumod has also created a blog packed full of Google resources and teacher tutorials. Great resource: https://sites.google.com/site/teachertechtutorials/googleapps

If you are a Google+ user, there are 2 Google communities I would recommend as you begin/continue to integrate Google apps into your classroom: 
 Google Apps for Education 
Google + Helper Community

Friday, January 10, 2014

Over the past year we have been talking a lot about taking risks and not being afraid to fail. We have encouraged our teachers to think outside the box and to do things that they have not tried in the past. The discussion of grading practices has come up several times and we have had discussions on grading content rather than behaviors. Our #ALedchat had led to discussion and reflection for many of our teachers on their teaching practices and for some, this has led to dramatic and what I consider transformative change in the classroom. One of these teachers is Mrs. Kellye Self. Mrs. Self teaches government to seniors and in the past has struggled with getting this group engaged and motivated to finish strong. After a great deal of reflection and planning, Ms. Self decided to change things up a bit this past semester.

Instead of traditional sit and get instruction that can be found in classrooms across the county, Mrs. Self decided that students would engage with their curriculum through activities, videos, and assignments that they chose to complete. Students were given a grading scale up front that explained to them the requirements of the class and what would have to be completed to achieve their desired grade. Mrs. Self also dropped traditional testing methods. What?? No test?? That is right. Mrs. Self has students schedule times during class and outside of class to come see her for an "interview". During this interview, Mrs. Self and the student talk about a predetermined concept that the student has completed an assignment on and a grade is given based on the student's knowledge of the content. This conversation allowed Mrs. Self to truly know if the student had a solid grasp on the content. When it came time for the semester exam, Mrs. Self knew that she had to design an exam or assessment with a similar format. But how can you schedule interviews with 100+ students during the scheduled exam week? Below is her explanation of her exams.

As you know, my students were tested for their exam using oral essays.  They were given questions in advance for each unit we have studied and when they logged into Moodle, the test itself chose which 3 questions they would answer.  They then had to upload their answer to Moodle within 90 minutes.  They still had to come to school during their exam time, but many chose to complete their interviews at home and upload from there – I encouraged that because they would be more relaxed, they wouldn’t have noise distractions and the upload times were bound to be faster from home.  Here is an example from today’s students.  She did well on all of her questions – on this one, I particularly like how the cat jumps into her lap, momentarily distracting her from the process.  She pulled right back in like she hadn’t been interrupted at all.  Her answer was pretty good too!  J

 For your reference, here is the question she is answering:

Describe at least three different types of government. How would you define and distinguish them? What are the similarities and differences?  Identify at least one country which has each type of government you identify.  What are the specific characteristics of representative democracy?  Using those characteristics as your guide, is America a representative democracy?  Explain.

Here is a second example:
Mrs. Self did an awesome job! We appreciate her willingness to find new ways to teach and assess her students. This is not easy and takes a ton of time, but I would say it is well worth it for the students.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year HHS and educators everywhere!
We at Hoover High School are blessed beyond measure to work at such an outstanding school and I cannot even begin to express how awesome it is to return to a school where everyone goes above and beyond to ensure that students are not only educationally challenged and prepared, but also care for students. This year promises to be another year of filled with teachers and students moving beyond our expectations and one where learning is transformational!
From the iPad of Bill Woodruff...
Featured app of the week.
Scanner Pro by Readdle by Readdle
From the iPad of Brian Phillips...
Bryan Phillips sent this to me to share with you 
14 Technology Concepts Every Teacher should Know about
So you are coming across too many tech terms that it becomes hard for you to draw clear boundaries between what each of them refer to. Well we do share with you this confusion and that is why we deem it important to put forward a list of the major and most popular educational concepts that are technology-related. The list below is a simple attempt to help you better capture the full picture of what all these tech terms are about by providing clear definitions to each one of them. If you like visuals and want to have a poster instead then check out this oneHERE.

1 - Adaptive Learning

This is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices. Computers adapt the presentation of educational material according to students' learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks. The motivation is to allow electronic education to incorporate the value of the interactivity afforded to a student by an actual human teacher or tutor. The technology encompasses aspects derived from various fields of study including computer science, education, and psychology

2 - Virtual Classroom
A virtual classroom is an online learning environment. The environment can be web-based and accessed through a portal or software-based and require a downloadable executablefile. Just like in a real-world classroom, a student in a virtualclassroom participates in synchronous instruction, which means that the teacher and students are logged into the virtual learning environment at the same time.


Mooc is an acronym for “massive open online course”. It refers to a web-based class designed to support a large number of participants.Typically, students enrolled in a mooc watch video lectures – often sliced into digestible 10 or 15-minute segments – and interact with instructors and fellow participants in online forums. Some moocs require students to take online tests or quizzes with multiple choice answers that can be graded automatically, while others require students to complete peer-reviewed assignments. Some moocs use a combination of these assessments.

4 - Synchronous Vs Asynchronous Learning
Synchronous online classes are those that require students and instructors to be online at the same time. Lectures, discussions, and presentations occur at a specific hour. All students must be online at that specific hour in order to participate. Asynchronous classes are just the opposite. Instructors provide materials, lectures, tests, and assignments that can be accessed at any time. Students may be given a timeframe – usually a one week window – during which they need to connect at least once or twice. But overall, students are free to contribute whenever they choose.

5 - Blended Learning

"A blended learning approach combines face to face classroom methods with computer-mediated activities to form an integrated instructional approach. In the past, digital materials have served in a supplementary role, helping to support face to face instruction.For example, a blended approach to a traditional, face to face course might mean that the class meets once per week instead of the usual three-session format. Learning activities that otherwise would have taken place during classroom time can be moved online...."

6 - Flipped Classroom
Flipped Classroom is an inverted method of instruction where teaching and learning take place online outside of the class while homework is done in the classroom.

7 - Self-directed Learning
’self-directed learning’ describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with our without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.”

8 - Learning Management Systems

A learning management system (LMS) is a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, a learning management system provides an instructor with a way to create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. A learning management system may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums.

9 - Cloud Based Learning
Essentially, the Cloud is a notion of a group of computers acting as one – and all connected to a network (and usually, the World Wide Web). Further, the Cloud is a model of computing that allows for scaling of resources based upon real-time needs. So, if there are many users utilizing the system, a larger number of resources will be called upon to help distribute the load.
Cloud based learning takes the notion of a perpetual, universally accessible, scalable network of computers and applies it to electronic learning – everything from online classrooms at accredited universities, to smaller training modules to be used within companies or other private enterprises.

10 - Mobile Learning

Mobile learning is the ability to obtain or provide educational content on personal pocket devices such as PDAs, smartphones and mobile phones. Educational content refers to digital learning assets which includes any form of content or media made available on a personal device.

11 - Course Management System ( CMS )
A course management system is a set of tools that enables the instructor to create online course content and post it on the Web without having to handle HTML or other programming languages.

12 - E-learning
E-Learning means "electronic learning" — it refers to a wide range of applications and processes designed to deliver instruction through electronic means. Usually this means over the Web, however it also can include CD-ROM or video-conferencing through satellite transmission. The definition of E-learning is broader than, but includes, "online learning," "Web-based training," and "computer-based training."

13 - 1:1 Technology
Providing every student with a laptop or tablet to make learning more individualized, increase independence, and extend academics beyond the classroom
14- Gamification
Gamification typically involves applying game design thinking to non-game applications to make them more fun and engaging. Gamification has been called one of the most important trends in technology by several industry experts. Gamification can potentially be applied to any industry and almost anything to create fun and engaging experiences, converting users into players.
From the iPad of Josh Rutsky...
First tourney of the new year, first victory for HHS Scholars Bowl!
The Varsity and JV teams travelled to Montgomery for the LAMP Invitational this past weekend, and came home with a complete set of trophies.  Varsity A, co-captained by Rachel Parker and Layla Tajmir, shook off a rough start in the final match against Spain Park and answered 7 of the final 10 tossups to win the tournament, 330-280.  Teammates Xianming Li and Abhay Thottassery helped lead the Bucs to a perfect record on the day.
The Varsity B finished in 3rd place, losing to Spain Park 415-355 in a close match.  They finished the day losing only the semifinal and their one match with our own Varsity A.
The JV squad played in a round-robin and lost a tight match to Spain Park’s JV by 10 points.  They never got a rematch, and finished second overall. 
Varsity C finished the day at 5-2, just out of the playoffs.  They also played extremely well.
Hoover travels to Covenant Christian’s tourney in Huntsville this weekend for a showdown with a couple of state title contenders.  We plan to kick brain and chew bubblegum, and we’re all out of bubblegum.
Go Bucs!
From Amy Protexter at Edgenuity...
Beginning this month, we’ll be awarding one student a “Tweet of the Month” prize for the Tweet that portrays student success and/or a significant achievement. District Administration covered this new contest:
Edgenuity launches student “Tweet of the Month” award
Submitted by Lauren Williams on Thu, 01/02/2014 - 2:19pm
Monday, January 6, 2014
Edgenuity, a leading provider of online and blended learning solutions, today announced its new student “Tweet of the Month” Award to showcase success stories and accomplishments that students are experiencing through online and blended learning. The “Tweet of the Month” program will kick off in January, featuring an inspiring student tweet and rewarding winners with a special swag bag and online recognition.
To participate in the contest, students must be enrolled in an Edgenuity course and should follow Edgenuity’s new student-focused Twitter handle, @EdgenuityStu. Any student that tweets at the handle about their online learning achievements and experiences is eligible to win that month’s prize.
“We know there are thousands of stories about students achieving their goals through online and blended learning,” said Sari Factor, CEO of Edgenuity. “Many students have already been tweeting about their experiences, and with this contest we aim to put a brighter spotlight on their successes.”
In addition to unveiling the contest and new Twitter handle, Edgenuity has built a robust presence on a number of social media platforms to drive an ongoing dialogue with students, teachers, administrators and other members of the educational community.
Students and educators can follow Edgenuity via Twitter at @EdgenuityStu, and on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.