Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Discover Discovery Education!

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Thought about flipping a lesson, but don’t know where to start?  Need an engaging way to kick off a unit? 

JTHS has a license for Discovery Education.  In this post, we'll focus on Discovery Education's video repository for teachers.  DE also has tools for classrooms/groups, assignments/quizzes and more. At the end is information about a webinar you can attend to learn about DE's other products.    

What can you do with videos?
  • Flip a lesson: Swap direct instruction to occur outside the classroom with a video and move activities traditionally considered homework into the classroom
  • Provide a video for an absent student—they can view it as many times as they like
  • Use a screencast tutorial to show step-by-step instructions for a topic 
  • Keep your students moving forward with course content when you are absent
  • Conduct low-cost field trips
  • Support visual learners
  • Start your unit in an engaging way
  • Provide supplementary materials when the classroom activities aren’t quite enough
  • Add some novelty if you haven’t used videos in a while or don’t use them at all
  • Show a simulation of something that’s hard to replicate in the classroom
Advantages of Discovery Education
  • Discover Education has thousands of standards-aligned resources in many subjects
  • Students can view Discover Education videos anywhere, any time
  • Download and edit videos that show as editable (leave copyright/logo information and cite the content as from Discovery Education Terms of Use
5 Ways to Use Discovery EducationNovember 30, 7:00 PM (ET) Webinar
This webinar will showcase ways you can use Discovery Education beyond videos. Discovery Education Upcoming Webinar

Accounts and logins
Dive in and check out all of the videos Discovery Education has to offer! Teachers go JT Web Instructional Technology resources.  Students go to JT Learn  Student Resources.  Contact Lea Sloan for questions or support.

Share outShare ways you have used videos in the classroom here in a comment. 
ReferencesDiscovery Education 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome Back! Summer Tech Upgrades

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Welcome Back!
As the 2015 – 2016 school year kicks off, here is a quick reference guide to a few tech upgrades that happened over the summer:
JT Learn:
JT Learn, our learning management system (LMS) here at JT, as now been upgraded to Sharepoint 2013.  The overall functionality remains the same; however, there are some items in a few new spots. Use this reference guide to help you navigate through the changes:  
If you do not find what you need on the reference guide, head on over to the JT Instructional Technology YouTube channel with tutorials referencing the upgrade:

As you enter assignments in TAC in the weeks to come, you may notice two icons now next to the green publish oval. The icons are below with their respective functions.

As we continue with our 1:1 initiative, refer back to the Instructional Technology Blog for quick tips/tricks as the year unfolds. Happy first week back!

Friday, February 6, 2015

JT Learn Week: Discussion Boards

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JT Learn allows teachers to create discussion boards at the course level or period level using Feature Builder. Within the discussion boards, all students have the ability to post messages and respond to others. offers a helpful list citing the benefits of using online discussion boards in the classroom: 

To get started with discussion boards on JT Learn, you must use Feature Builder. Located on your teacher page, Feature Builder allows you to create a discussion board with the correct permissions for all students.

Once the discussion board is created, you can then add questions for students to respond to by just clicking "add new discussion". After you add a new discussion, move forward by typing in the question and selecting save.

Students are then able to click on the question and reply to it. They can also respond to other classmates as well by just clicking reply in the far right corner of the question.

When you and students view questions and replies within the discussion board, there are two viewing options: flat and threaded.
  • Flat: All replies and questions will appear in chronological order according to the time-stamp
  • Threaded: All replies will appear under the post where reply was clicked
The threaded view makes it a bit easier to follow along in the overall conversation. If left on flat view, a student responding in the evening to a question posted in the morning would place the two posts very far from one another because of the time stamp.

To change between flat and threaded views:

Click on the Question in the discussion board – click list – under current view choose flat or threaded

As discussion boards offer numerous benefits in the classroom, it is important to prepare students to navigate within them, but also how to use proper discussion board etiquette. The infographic below created by Touro College’s Online Education Department offers 15 quick rules for Online Discussion Board Netiquette; click on the image to enlarge:

If you plan on implementing discussion boards on your JT Learn page, explore these resources for further ideas, inspiration, and support:

JT Learn Has Blogs?

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“I didn’t know JT Learn had BLOGS.  How could I use a blog with my classes?”

Yes, teacher can create blogs within JT Learn to use with classes and much like the survey tool, it is very versatile. 

What is a blog?
  1. “A Web site that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer” (Merriam Webster)
  2. “A website that displays postings by one or more individuals in chronological order and usually has links to comments on specific postings”  (The Free Dictionary)

Interesting Facts according to Cameron Chapman: Chicago native, Justin Hall, is credited as starting the first blog in 1994 while on break from college.  At that time it was his personal webpage, but the term “weblog” was coined a few years later in 1997. And by the end of 2010, there were more than 152 million active blogs (Webdesigner Depot).

Teachers who use classroom blogs find it a useful tool to engage students at many levels.  Take a look at this top ten list created with input from two Joliet Township Central High School teachers: Jeff Jakob and Stephanie Phillips.

Creating a JT Learn Blog for classroom use is accomplished using Feature Builder.  Feature Builder will allow teachers to name the blog, answer set-up questions, and then Feature Builder does the creation and set-up.  

A Peek at Jakob's Class Blog

Jakob and Phillips both use a class blog within JT Learn and offer a couple “Tips and Tricks” for other teachers who want to give using a class blog a try. 

“Practice posting with the students. Give them specific directions and do a post every week or bi-weekly so they get used to posting and how to post.”  - Stephanie Phillips

“The JT Learn blog has replaced my “assignment submission’ folder and I even use this blog to allow students to take notes in a ‘Twitter’ fashion that they really like. The opportunities are endless.” – Jeff Jakob

Happy Blogging!

Works Cited
"Blog." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 6 Feb. 2015. <>.

"Blog." The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Web. 6 Feb. 2015.        

Chapman, Cameron. "A Brief History of Blogging." Webdesigner Depot RSS. 14 Mar. 2011. Web. 6 Feb. 2015. <>.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

JT Learn Week: Surveys in the Classroom

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Teachers look for tools that will allow all students in the class to participate and that are versatile.  In JT Learn, surveys fit that description.  This one tool can be…
·         a bell ringer
·         a review tool
·         an assessment (formative and summative)
·         used to gather information/data for a lesson
·         as a getting to know you semester opener
·         an exit ticket
·         and more

Surveys are easy to set up, too, using Feature Builder. Select "Survey for Student Use" in Step 1 and complete all options.  When ready to create the survey, click "Finish"

Once created, teachers add the questions and can even create templates for surveys that will be used multiple times.  There are three options to see survey results:
  1. Export the results to Excel
  2. See the results as graphs
  3. Show individual responses

Surveys, one feature with many uses!