FCPS Takes on ISTE 2016

The 2016-2017 school year is upon us!  Welcome or welcome back to our teachers and staff!  It’s been a busy summer for the Office of Instructional Technology, but the highlight was traveling with a great group of educators to the ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) Conference in Denver, CO.  With 40 teachers, library media specialists, school-based staff and district staff attending, it made for an exciting week with LOTS of learning going on!

We hope to have many of our group share in various platforms over the coming months, but here is a quick taste of some of the exciting things we saw and tools we learned about pulled from our own Twitter hashtag at the conference #fcpsiste.  Check out some of the cool things we saw, learned and that prompted our thinking.

School Spotlight: Athens-Chilesburg Elementary

Recently, the 5th grade teachers at ACE invited me to step back into the 1600’s as they concluded their project based learning unit on Colonial America. The fascinating unit allowed students to not only step back in time, but to do so in the shoes of an actual colonial trades-person. Throughout the unit, students researched and acquired information about a colonial trade they were interested in. Rather than present their knowledge behind a closed door, the teachers decided to extend the learning beyond the traditional four walls of their classroom. Using Google Hangouts on Air and a Chromebook with a webcam and wifi, the 5th graders introduced their shops and shared about their trade live, streaming to 26 states and 4 countries. Family members, friends, and other classrooms from around the world joined in to learn, engage, and celebrate.

Using information gathered from inquiry learning, students transposed a speech in first person to share during the broadcast.  Along with a trade sign, tables were decorated using primary sources and/or created replicas as props to create their very own trade shop. An apothecary stood with a mortar and pestle and tiny bottles, demonstrating the use of medications and remedies. Blacksmiths were surrounded by anvils, hammers, and files while the baker’s table was full of yeast, a rolling pin, dough, and fresh baked cookies. The costumes were tied exactly to the trade ranging from the bloody apron of the butcher to the pressed linen of the milliner.

The production part was pretty simple.  The Hangouts on Air were created ahead of time and embedded within a free web application called Smore.  Students shared the link with friends and family members ahead of time so they could log on from a computer or mobile device with wifi to view the broadcast.  Since Hangouts on Air automatically save to an unlisted YouTube channel, the recordings will continue to live on and can be accessed at any time. During the live broadcast, over 700 people logged in to share and leave feedback for the performers.  Since the event, over 400 more views have taken place.


The students stood within their shops and proudly and taught others through the live internet stream. The students enjoyed this interactive project because they were working on their own to gain new information about the Colonial era. Would you like to learn more about streaming an event in your classroom?  Email me or plan on attending an upcoming PD session.

Congratulations to teachers Kelly Ward, Shannon Lesher, Beverly DePaola, Karen Miracle, Andrea Least and Marshall Spivey and all 5thgrade students on a thrilling and successful event!