Ruth Allen is an Instructional Technology Specialist for Forsyth County Schools (FCS) in Georgia. She was a high school mathematics teacher for 11 years before switching to an ITS. Her primary focus is providing support and training for all middle and high school teachers in Forsyth County Schools on itslearning.
Below are a few excerpts from her blog detailing how itslearning has supported FCS teachers:
Forsyth County Schools itslearning Show & Tell
In my blog this year, I am going to spotlight the great work that Forsyth County teachers are doing in their itslearning courses to help students in their learning. FCS teachers are going above and beyond to supplement their classroom instruction with digital resources and opportunities through itslearning. This blog is meant to both recognize teachers for the work that they are accomplishing and to share ideas with others. I look forward to showcasing what our teachers are creating.
Reflections (September 4, 2015)
Can you believe that Forsyth County Schools has been using itslearning for over two years now? We have come a long way in a short amount of time. As a math teacher, I can easily look at the data and see the growth, but even my literary side has grown to understand the changes that we have experienced.
During our first year, the seeds of how to use the platform were sown and seedlings began to develop. During the second year, plants began to grow and bloom, and vines shot out to reach more areas. Now, in the third year of usage, we are seeing fruit and beginning to harvest the results.
While we have users at all levels, it is exciting to watch teachers assist one another, share ideas, and implement the tools. I am enjoying having teachers pull me aside to show me things that they are doing in their courses and hearing stories of how students are enjoying the activities. itslearning will never be able to replace the great work teachers do in the classroom each day, but I hope that we continue to discover more ways to utilize it to support classroom instruction. I am looking forward to seeing all the great things teachers will do with itslearning this year and am thankful that I get to assist along the way.
itslearning Ideas (Fall 2015)
For this post, I am spotlighting different ways that teachers and schools are using itslearning beyond the normal features. Hopefully, these will spark some new ideas for your use.
- Student Performance Evaluations by Catherine Keyser, Band Director at Otwell Middle School: Since the standards for band include students evaluating their performances, Ms. Keyser has her students complete a post-concert wrap-up Discussion in itslearning. Catherine stated, “It is SO EASY to facilitate conversations this way, and they love it. I heard them even comparing out loud what they thought as they were typing their responses.”
- Online Study Chats by Mary Cartenuto, Science Teacher at Riverwatch Middle School: To assist her students as they prepare for unit tests, Ms. Cartenuto hosts online study chats in the evenings using the itslearning Conference tool. She creates the conference in her itslearning course for a set date and time. Students join the conference live to ask her questions concerning topics that they do not understand or need clarified.
- Student Elections: Every school is our district has a student information course which has all students enrolled in it. Through this course, one could conduct student elections (Class Officers, Homecoming Candidates, Prom, Superlatives, etc.) by using the Survey Tool. Maureen Farry, Yearbook Sponsor at West Forsyth High School wrote, “Last year we used it to do senior superlative voting for the yearbook. I plan on using it again this year. Instead of counting ballots by hand, I was able to use the survey function in itslearning and completed the “counting” in less than 30 minutes!”
- Courses for Clubs, Teams, or General Groups: Did you know that you can request to have an itslearning course created for you to use with your club, team, or group? Such courses are a great way for you to share information with the group, post pictures of events, hold elections, and communicate quickly with everyone.
Ruth, thanks so much for letting us share your blog!
If you have tips for using itslearning, please share them in the comments section below.