Say the word “Minecraft” in a group of middle- or high-school students and ears are sure to perk up. The interactive computer game gained popularity in 2009 as a mainstream computer/video game. By 2011, educators had begun utilizing the Minecraft program to teach everything from history and math to science and social studies. The game allows students to control their characters while achieving tasks like building communities or societies, reconstructing settings, journaling experiences, engineering buildings, and creating models while practicing ratios and scale. Educators have found this teaching vehicle to be dynamic because a wide range of ages are already acquainted with the user interface.
Welcome to the new school year! We want to celebrate this milestone with you by starting off with two exciting drawings. Today, we’ll introduce you to the GoogleFEST giveaway and opportunity happening in Lansing, Michigan. Then, in just a couple days, we’ll post the information about two online course scholarship drawings! So, stay tuned.
Many schools are making use of the apps, devices, and programs Google has created to make education more efficient and student centered. The folks at Google have created GoogleFEST, a one day professional and personalized learning conference for educators. The topics being covered by the keynote speaker, author and teacher Pernille Ripp, and the workshop leaders will surely enhance how you use technology in the classroom. We want to encourage you to sign up for the registration give-away ($95 value – covers one participant’s registration and parking) below and share the opportunity with your administrators and staff.
Challenging Students with Digital Learning: Best Practices for Academically Talented Middle School Students – Webinar Re-Cap
Webinar presented by: Becci Zwiers, CLC Network/The Learning Well
Academically advanced middle school students can easily get bored by grade-level content, but that doesn’t mean they have the emotional maturity to take courses with high school students. Learn why online courses can be a good option for these students, and what to look for to make the experience effective and fulfilling. Becci Zwiers, online teaching consultant for CLC Network, will review the advantages and pitfalls of digital learning.
Guest post by Mark Steenstra, technology director at Calvin Christian School in Escondido, California
This school year Calvin Christian High School in Escondido, California, offered a new course, AP Computer Science. This was possible because we utilized the blended learning model.
I teach a variety of technology-related courses at Calvin Christian School, including Computer Programming. A few years ago, I discovered there were several students that desired to take AP Computer Science. Our school did not have the time or resources to establish a traditional AP Computer Science course, so I recommended that students take the class online. Finding a high-quality online course is difficult, and I confess the one I recommended had some shortcomings. Not that I took my recommendation lightly; in fact, I was directly impacted because my son was one of the students.
“Blended learning” is the catch phrase in K-12 education today. Christian schools span the spectrum of participation integrating blended learning into their classrooms: some are fully on board, while other schools have yet to dip their toes in. The online class Building a Blended Course is a great opportunity for educators to understand blended learning and to be equipped with helpful tools for implementing their own blended learning courses.
This summer, Christian Schools International is offering the Building a Blended Course for the second time for K-12 teachers and administrators. Beginning June 15, 2015, the course is asynchronous and allows for summer vacation schedules; it’s designed to cover seven weeks of content but allows eight weeks for completion (ending August 3).
Guest post by: Meghan Daniel, Senior Education Consultant for Kickstand, LLC
Christian Schools International was recently introduced to the folks at Kickstand, LLC and their latest individualized learning product, EDIFY. Take a moment to explore their website to see how EDIFY is being used by students and teachers. Dan Hoekstra, a science teacher from Grand Rapids Christian High School (a CSI member school in Grand Rapids, Michigan) is currently piloting the program in his classroom. He will be sharing his experiences in a webinar hosted by Kickstand, LLC on April 13, 2015. Register here to attend.
At Kalamazoo Christian Schools we have been in the process of answering that question as we have adopted, implemented, and now evaluated a 1:1 iPad program utilizing more than 600 iPads within our district for our middle school and high school students (approximately 460 students in grades 5-12) and their teachers.
Like many others who are venturing down the path of adopting some kind of 1:1 program, we have learned some lessons along the way.
Christian Schools International has completed a pilot of the course “Building a Blended Course.” During this eight-week course, teachers and administrators gleaned useful materials that allow them to create their own blended unit, taking their top-notch curriculum into the digital age. They were then able to use it immediately within the courses that they teach. It was such a success, it’s being offered again! This course was created by Christian Schools International and developed by online learning specialists at The Learning Well.
Presented by Miriam Taylor, The Learning Well
What does blended learning really mean, and how can I put it into practice in my classroom? During this webinar, Miriam taught us how to articulate the various meanings of blended learning. She spent time exploring ways to implement this in your classroom from both an instructional and technology standpoint.