Archive of ‘Tech Team’ category
A) What are the strengths? Things you found useful.
One of the strengths of the Divi Builder is that there is a video tutorial for almost any feature. If I got stuck, I was able to click on the question mark and watch a video to answer my question. After playing around with this plugin for a few hours, I found that the layout was pretty simple to use. It did take some time at the beginning to learn the simplest of features, however, once I mastered those, the program seemed to offer any design element I could think of. Each option (a countdown clock, a photo gallery or even a text box) was very customizable, making it incredibly easy to customize my posts and overall personalize my blog.
B) What are the weaknesses? Things you found could be improved.
Some of the weaknesses regarding the Divi Builder plugin are simply due to the fact that I do not have an account for the Elegant Themes feature. I would have liked to change my whole blog theme through the Divi Builder, however after multiple attempts and still no progress, I realized that this was one of the features we were not provided with. From my understanding, this feature also restricts us to using the map option. If we did have access to the map, I would have placed pins to represent the places in this world where I have been lucky enough to visit. If I had any items to critique, it would be that these features should be free so that we can further enhance our blogs.
C) How can this plugin be used in a classroom setting to enhance student learning? Would you use it and/or recommend it?
I would most definitely recommend this plugin as it allows students to present their work in a creative fashion when posting projects that are more than just text. I believe that this plugin could be taught at the Digital Bootcamp (for those who are more technically advanced) or incorporated in the grade 9 technology course. This plugin will take patients when learning and exploring; however, once students figure it out (and have the confidence to play around with their blogs while making mistakes), I am sure their blogs will be much more visually appealing and expressive of who they are.
Step 1: Answer the questions below.
a) Describe your project. What did you do? How did you do it?
For my project, I was lucky enough to be a part of the wall of excellence team. This wall (although it may be a screen as apposed to a wall), will display the excellent accomplishments of current and alumni Rapids as well as staff and members of our community. Throughout the year, we designed a criteria and a basic outline of what this wall may look like. For the following months, our main focus was getting input from the staff and improving upon the ideas we had already created. Although many of these ideas are still just ideas, we hope to have a physical product sometime next year.
b) What problems did you run into? Were you able to solve these challenges? How did you solve these challenges? Is there anything you would do differently?
A problem that we continued to run into was that everyone wanted to know what the wall would look like. When discussing the criteria with teachers and asking them questions about their opinion, most times the teachers would answer our question with their own (again, mostly regarding the final product). We were able to solve this by making sure to start the discussion by saying “we do not know what it will look like at this point, however we have many ideas regarding the criteria to share with you today”. This way, the direction of the conversation was established and everyone was on the same page. If I were to go through this process again, I would have started every conversation like this but until I saw that a pattern had developed, I did not think it was necessary. Recently, we have been referring to the Hyde Creek display when asked about the final product and I believe that it helps as it finally gives people a visual.
This is a wall of excellence that can be found at Hyde Creek. It is very similar to what we would like to display at Riverside.
c) What did you learn? Were you able to learn new skills or strengthen previous ones?
There were many things that I have learned and many things that I am certain I will learn as I continue this project next year. One idea that I was uneducated about was how much work a well thought out wall of excellence can take. Anyone can put pictures of the smartest people, the best athletes and the teacher who has taught the longest on the wall but it takes a team to create a project in which the people who are not always being recognized get the chance to share their excellence with the school. I am excited to learn how we will create a program to display this information and to receive hands on experience for a project that I helped build from the ground up.
d) What did you learn from being a part of this project?
From being a part of this project, I learned just how humble Riverside is. When looking at the many projects Riverside has created I was astonished and so proud to be a part of this community. I also learned that excellence can be found in every aspect of our lives and it is up to us to share this excellence with our peers, teachers and community.
Impact: How might your project positively impact the social and emotional well being of students/our school? What can be done to increase the impact of this idea on the school?
I believe that this project will greatly improve the confidence of Riverside. We are an amazing school (I am a bit bias; however, I have heard many people make these type of comments before) yet we do not show off the amazing projects or accomplishments we have achieved over the years. Therefore, I believe that this would be an amazing project to showcase the many different talents at our school and to emphasize Riverside’s pride. Although I think this is an amazing idea, others may not. There are people who will never say “look at me, look at me”, and whilst being recognized for their accomplishments, they are intimidated and humiliated. So, as long as we present this idea in a relaxed and inviting manner, I am sure that we will have many candidates.
Desirability: What could you change to make your project more desirable to students, teachers, administrators, parents or the community?
If I said that I would make the application process easy, that would mean that the criteria would be less strict which would mean that the selection process would be that much more difficult. With that said, I believe that if students believe their project or the project/idea of someone they know deserves recognition, they will take the time to fill out an application form. If we make this process very straight forward and easy to follow, I think this will help increase the desirability to fill out a form.
Integratability: What would you change to make this idea easier to integrate into a school setting?
We are a very technology based school; however, I know many schools in the lower mainland who are not. Therefore, I believe that if schools took into consideration our applications, our application process and the criteria to be selected, their current walls of excellence could improve. I find that many schools get so caught up in their athletic accomplishments that they forget about the other 80% of students who do not play school sports. So if they could add or reorganize their current (physical) wall of excellence, I think the accomplishments and recognitions would be that much more special and interesting.
Feasibility: Looking back what would you change? What would you keep?
Looking back at the project, I would definitely keep our mission statement and our criteria layout. However, one thing that I would change would be my expectation for this year. In my mind, I did not realize how much time and effort needed to go into this project to make it successful for years to come. If I created more attainable goals for myself and my team, I believe I would have been more focused on the process and not as focused on the final product.
Step 1: Questions
What aspects of Tech Team are successful? Explain why.
The aspects of Tech Team that are successful are the aspects in which not everyone can see. On a day to day basis, Tech Team maintains many components of Riverside’s digital presence (on social media, some RAP videos) but they are not always the people that are in the photos/videos. I believe that an aspect that is successful for our team is that everyone is always ready to help. Whether that be other members of the team or students/teachers within the school, Tech Team is always ready to lend them a hand. I also believe that we are very fortunate to have some techy kids on the Tech Team. These individuals that understand the ins and outs of computers and technology in general, are very helpful when it comes to solving a more complicated task.
What aspects of Tech Team are challenging? Explain why.
As I explained above, we are very lucky to have a few techy kids on the Tech Team. However, it is a challenge if/when we ever need help during the digital bootcamp or during projects throughout the year to receive the one on one help we need. Sometimes these tech kids teach us how to get through stressful tech related situations but most of the time, they simply take over instead of trying to teach us.
What support does our school need from the Tech Team moving forward? Explain why.
I would love to spend a few occasions thought the year exploring technology with other students. Now that we (hopefully) have a makers space in the library, I believe it will be beneficial to have Tech Team students in that space to lead and to support students in this classroom. We can all learn together but it is never a bad thing to have someone who knows a little bit about the topic before diving right into a project (or in this case a machine).
What can we do to improve our support for our school?
If Tech Team is able to spend some time in the library by ourselves to explore the makers space, I think that we can immensely improve the projects and the products created in this space as we will then have some knowledge from our experience.
Step 2: Research
Take some time to research various Tech Teams around North America. There are several schools using different variations of students in tech leadership positions. Look into them, and see what they are doing, how are they set up, how do they communicate, how do they improve their school culture around technology.
What are some things other Tech Teams are doing that we may want to apply at Riverside?
- One element that I found was that another Tech Team was mimicking an apple Genius Bar (I believe this is the why we have the long table in the library)
- A school has a student run Genius Bar where students can easily find a teacher or student throughout the entire day
- Tech Team’s divide and explore small projects throughout the year instead of taking on one large project as a team
- One Tech Team is very open to anyone joining (not a hand selected group) at any time throughout the school year
Has you research created any ideas that the Tech Team can implement here?
An idea that truly sticks to me is to simply have a central location for Tech Team members to be found. Whether this is an online location (which could be a tech related project that someone could build), or a physical location, I believe that it is important for students who are trained to problem solve be in an easily, accessible location.
What are some things you have learned and/or tasks you have accomplished so far this semester? Explain thoroughly (Use videos, pictures, upload materials etc. as evidence of learning in your blog)
I have learned many things in my time as a Tech Team member. Not only have I learned more about my blog and how to personalize it, but I have learned a few tips and tricks when it comes to technology. I am now very proud of my blog and I work hard to keep it up to date and professional. I have learned many skills from helping others during the Tech Team boot camp such as how to connect to wifi networks, how to synchronize the school calendar (which keeps me up to date) and how to add more categories to my blog. Lastly, I have practiced making eye catching post’s for projects to advertise on Rapid Event.
My Tech Team Category
- What aspects of your work are successful? Explain why.
An aspect of my work as a Tech Team member that is successful has been organizing ideas for the wall of pride. I have put thought and time into recording ideas the days leading up to our meeting so that we can build and formulate further ideas once in our group. I have been able to come up with general outlines for our criteria and I have suggested how we may choose to display the wall (digitally through an instagram account, a physical wall with pictures or a screen with a virtual wall of pictures and descriptions).
- What aspects of your work are challenging? Explain why.
An aspect of my work that was challenging was the digital boot camp. There were times where there was a tech problem that I did not know how to solve. I felt bad either interrupting the presentation or pulling teachers and my co Tech Team members away from the person they were helping to help me. However, I have learned from this boot camp through trial and error and with more practice, I know I will do better next year.
- What steps did you take to overcome these challenges / what adjustments did you need to make?
A major step that I took to learn how to solve these tech problems was simply asking questions. I found that in preparation for the Tech Team boot camp, we were learning many new problem solving skills and my brain felt full. When it was the day of the boot camp, I was able to look over my notes and then consult with a friend or teacher if I was still confused. Together we were able to work out the problem and complete our ultimate goal of helping the student.
- Is there anything you can do improve? (with your approach to the project, or altering the project)
In regards to the project, I believe that I can start to take my ideas and refine them. I will need to talk with my group and with teachers before anything is solidified. However I believe that going into our next meeting with clear ideas and possibly visuals will not only help me organize my thoughts but will hopefully help everyone follow my thought process.
Do you have any feedback or suggestions, as we move forward, that could help the Tech Team meet the needs of our school and staff / be more effective? (Provide specific examples).
Speaking from experience, I am not a huge fan of writing core competencies. I’m not sure if they are a part of the new curriculum or not. If so, would it be possible for Tech Team to create a list of ideas for how students can display their refelction? I believe that by making it more appealing and interesting, students will take more time to fill it out instead of just completing it for the sake of it.
Briefly describe your new and improved idea, by incorporating ideas and/or feedback.
The tech team would like to implement a wall full of the school’s accomplishments. After hearing stories of many Riverside Alumni and seeing the success within our school, I was able to see how talented and accomplished of a school Riverside is. My group has come up with a few ideas regarding how we can display the Wall of Excellence. We would love to one day use touch screens to create a virtual wall. For the time being, we would like to display pictures with captions about the successes of the individual. We have come up with some ideas but are finding it hard to make a criteria that is open to many but also limited enough. I was thinking we could create The Rule of 7: If after 7 days, it will not be remembered, do not submit an application. If after 7 weeks, you have not made progress, do not submit and application. If you have not been working on/at this for more than 7 years, do not submit an application.
At this point, I am not sure if 7 is the correct number we should use. I believe that a system as such will help us to create a structured application form but I know that there are always changes and improvements to be made.
Answer the following questions:
What problems might we run into?
A problem that we may run into is how we will present the wall. I am uncertain if asking or fundraising for a virtual wall will ever be an option. If not, we will have difficulties figuring out where to place the wall, how to keep it updated, and how to make sure that we can update it regularly. Another problem that we may run into is regarding the criteria. I am concerned that our criteria will end up being too specific or too open therefore allowing many applicants or not enough.
What skills do we need to complete this project? How can we attain these skills?
To complete this project we will need people skills. We will need to contact Riverside alumni or current Riverside students and ask them to apply for the Wall of Excellence. We will have to do our research in order to learn of the impressive accomplishments from the members of our school. Therefore, we will also need tech skills. Whether that is putting together a virtual wall or reaching out to the members of our school community, we will need the digital knowledge to do a sufficient job.
Create a brief timeline of key things that need to happen to ensure successful completion of your project. What happens next?
December: Meet with Mr. Gee to address our outline of the criteria
January: Meet with team members to clarify and set in stone criteria
February: Meet with staff to review ideas and make changes if necessary
March: Present idea to the school
April: Start building the wall
May: Start receiving applications
This is an outline that is very ambitious. At this moment, I am uncertain when we will complete THE Wall of Excellence. However, even it is a first draft, I believe that we can create a Wall of Excellence by the end of the school year (even if it is small).
a) What Widgets and Plugins did you choose?
I chose the translator widget, the calendar widget and the images widget.
b) What are there strengths?
I chose these three widgets because I believe that they make my blog visually pleasing. The translator widget allows anyone to read my posts and I love this feature as it is something that my parents and friends can use to read my French projects as well as other students who may not speak English or French. The calendar widget makes finding my most recent post very easy for a teacher, a classmate, or a parent. Lastly, the images widget is a fantastic tool for me to share my favourite pictures from the summer, from a family vacation or from a school trip with the world.
d) What are there weaknesses?
A weakness that I found did not correspond with the widget that I chose to use. The audio widget would be very neat to display with your favourite song, podcast or most recent audio project but was tricky to use (as were a few other widgets that I played around with). I tried many different audio formats but none of the links were accepted. I also found that many widgets were not customizable. Aside from the title, there was no way to personalize the widgets (colour, size, font) directly through an edublog format.
e) Can these programs be used in a classroom setting to enhance student learning? Would you use it and/or recommend it?
I definitely think that these programs can be used in a classroom setting. As I mentioned above, the calendar tool along with many other widgets can be used to help find recent posts, comments, direct you to specific pages and so forth. I would recommend using widgets as a way to enhance your blog and truly showcase your computer skills. I believe that playing around with the features on your blog is so important to help you explore and overall create a better understanding of the amazing platform used at Riverside.