2015 Technology Grant Finalists

In support of the District’s Strategic Plan where every student in the class of 2026 will graduate tech-savvy and tech-literate, the Department of Technology Services (DoTS) offered Technology Grants to help teachers put technology in the hands of students in innovative projects! We received many worthy applications this year for the $5,000 grant and the winner will be announced at the Highline Public Schools’ State of our Schools event next Monday.

Here are the top 3 finalists –

Live From Hilltop!“Live From Hilltop!”
The first finalist – “Live From Hilltop!” submitted by Nicole Grambo, 5th Grade Dual Language Teacher/Hilltop Huskies Journalism Club Lead Teacher at Hilltop Elementary School:

“Our technology-based project for 2015-2016 is the expansion of the Hilltop Huskies Journalism Club that was established last school year. It began as the brainchild of three intermediate teachers as a way to provide an outlet for students to contribute to their school community in a positive way and subsequently be recognized for their leadership qualities. Starting with only the club idea, basic school technology and a $500 grant from the Highline Schools Foundation last year, a successful journalism club was born at Hilltop. That grant enabled us to take our student journalists on a field trip to Q13 Fox News, subscribe to Vimeo, purchase a microphone, mic stand, iTunes cards, necessary apps, and to buy club T-shirts as a way to promote the club’s presence to the entire school.

Our overall goals in organizing the club included a number of things. We wanted an avenue that would bring more student voice into the school. We hoped that our journalists would inspire a new school spirit throughout the entire student population. We wanted all students to begin to understand that they’re a part of a bigger community outside of an individual classroom. We hoped that students reporting on upcoming school events would encourage other students to ‘get the word out’ to their parents and increase parental involvement at Hilltop. We believed that our journalists over time would develop crucial communication (both verbal and written), interpersonal, teamwork and time management skills that would broaden their horizons when thinking about future career paths.

As our complete idea took shape we realized that the Hilltop Huskies Journalism Club would do a lot more than simply affect the students in the club. It would serve as a model for the entire school and the community as well. In one year we’ve produced really good work with just the basics and $500. We’re now asking for the $5000 grant in order to push this program to its next level. Our original club is well established with an experienced teacher leader from last year as well as student journalists from last year (5th graders who are now the 6th grade leaders in the club). Two new intermediate teachers will be joining the team and student membership is open to fifth graders. All are anxious to take on the new challenges that would come with the new technology.

When this technology is not being used specifically for Journalism Club it will be used to support the school’s writing program, allowing intermediate students to publish their writing based on the Writing Units of Study. Increasing students’ ability to electronically publish their own writing will increase their motivation to meet the expectations in the writing learning progressions. This will also support their typing skills, electronic editing skills and overall computer skills necessary to create tech savvy students. In addition these videos, created by the journalism team, will be shared with the entire student body in the form of weekly announcements.”

Transform the Library into a Makerspace with iPads“Transform the Library into a Makerspace with iPads!”
The second finalist for the $5,000 2015 Technology Grant is “Transform the Library into a Makerspace with iPads!” submitted by Kim Meschter, Teacher Librarian at Chinook Middle School: “The makerspace movement is transforming libraries (public and school) nationwide. I want to create a space where students can come and create digital and physical products, both during and after school hours. While I have been steadily adding components to create a physical makerspace, I need materials to transform the digital creation space. I want to add iPads, lapel microphones, and a Green Screen to the library for this project.
Students will use this technology to create videos and other multimedia products. They will use the green screen and lapel microphones to record videos for Leadership, AVID, Language Arts, Social Studies, and even Science on the iPads. Because of the materials being centrally located in the library, all students & subjects will have access to the technology. Students would learn how to use technology ethically for production (a 21st century learner skill) as well as how to collaborate to learn with others (a 21st century learner skill).”

Ozbot Tango“Ozbot Tango”
The third finalist for the $5,000 2015 Technology Grant is “Ozbot Tango” submitted by Sandy Gady, Design and Engineering Teacher at Pacific Middle School:

“There is no end to the possibilities as students create a different landscape of adventures, games and coding with Ozobot Bit, the tiny Robot (www.ozobot.com). Imagine, a learning toy that opens the doors of computer science, STEM Education, robotics and coding, making students one step ahead of the learning curve in school and in life.

Living in an evolving digital world, we know “screen time” is a daily reality. Smart Toys are an incredible way to stimulate kids’ minds and open them up to the wonders of technology. Teachers can help make learning fun for kids of all ages with their own personal robot, an adorable, yet educational, learning toy. Ozobot Bit, the tiny robot connects student’s ever evolving imagination – building confidence through competitive play, interactive games and even create a program where the robots can all line dance in sequence.

Ozobot Bit’s ability to learn programs, and then play them back is a big game changer to how young minds play and learn. OzoBlockly – a web-based visual editor – offers five step-up modes from icon-based to loops, logic and equation blocks to appeal to young kids and even to challenge the seasoned programmers. Ozobot Bit’s scalable platform then enables young minds to explore more complex coding concepts using sequential programming and child-friendly visual editors to gain valuable life skills and a fundamental understanding of computational thinking.”

Once students have had a chance to learn programming, they can collaborate by creating races, group dances, or creating challenging mazes for other groups to experience. All students will benefit from implementation of Ozobots because they will have the opportunity to learn at their own pace while having the benefit of collaborating and problem solving with members of their team. I envision the Ozobots being incorporated in Maker Faire’s and Science nights which will allow students to share what they have learned with their parents and community members. It is my goal to team with Conn McQuinn to bring Maker Faire’s to Pacific in a meaningful manner. Ozobots are technology which students of all ages and parents alike will enjoy.
The Ozobots will be a wonderful tool to introduce sixth graders to programming once they become a part of the middle school. The Ozobots will also be used with the Cyberdyne FTC Robotics team to introduce new members to the aspects of programming.”

Good luck to all our finalists! The winner will be announced at the Highline Public Schools’ State of our Schools event next on Monday November 2, 2015.

Thank you Technology Grant Sponsors!

Micro K12
Century Link

Since 1999, the Highline Schools Foundation has been supporting innovation and excellence in Highline Public Schools. Our funding priorities focus on programs to improve academic achievement, supporting college and career readiness, grants to teachers for engaging classroom projects, the arts, athletics, and programs that keep students in school and productive. Highline is a district full of need and opportunity. The Highline Schools Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to all schools in our district—our goal is to help as many students as possible be successful!