What Bellevue Does Differently
Bellevue Public Schools has been thoughtful and intentional with how they roll-out the use of technology within their district. Instead of giving students and teachers iPads all at once, with little to no training, Ann Feldman and her technology team, have set out a plan that improves student learning, gives teachers the resources and support needed to introduce technology, and allows every student to have access to a device.
At the beginning of each quarter, around 20 teachers are chosen for the Bellevue Public Schools #ipadacademy. Before receiving iPads, teachers go through over 40 hours of Apple Foundations training. After completing the training, teachers work with an individual iPad coach to implement teaching in a blended learning environment. The solid foundation in the Apple ecosystem, accompanied by shadowing in classrooms with similar content area or grade level, and having ongoing classroom support with an iPad coach allows for a new culture of teaching and learning to emerge.
The integration of curriculum starts with just one subject (elementary) or one class (secondary) and one app. There is a focus on digital workflow, so students can learn how to access curriculum materials and share work with their teachers, classmates, and parents.
Here are four of our core apps used for workflow and how our teachers are using them in the beginning:
Seesaw is a powerful app for sharing student work, creating reflection videos, and sharing student work with parents. Monica Evon (@mrsevon1), 4th grade teacher and Bellevue Elementary, started the year off with students creating short reflection videos and sharing them in Seesaw.
Classkick is an app that allows teachers to provide slides to students which can includes links. In addition, as students write, teachers can watch in real-time, jump to students slides, and provide them written or audio feedback as they work. Kelly Benne (@mrsbenne), 2nd grade teacher at Fairview, had her second graders using Classkick for a math lesson which included a teacher created video. She used her teacher iPad for instruction and giving real time feedback to students as they worked on their math lesson.
Nearpod is a great app to use at the beginning of the year because it has free icebreakers you can download and use. These are fun, interactive, and the head fake is that they learn how to use Nearpod too! That could be fun for the first day with the iPads. Carrie Buresh (@CarrieBuresh), 3rd grade teacher, created a Nearpod lesson for the first reading unit which included introducing new vocabulary. Students drew their vocabulary words and submitted them in Nearpod. Next, Buresh shared out several examples to every student using the screen share feature in Nearpod.
Schoology Many students also signed in to Schoology, our learning management system. Students access their course materials in Schoology from K-12.
Gina feels like the luckiest person in the world–spending the past 13 years doing a job she loves. She began her teaching career at Holy Cross Catholic School in Omaha, completed a four-year stint teaching math at Mission Middle School in Bellevue and then relocated to Sioux City, Iowa with family. She spent two years teaching Social Studies at Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools and was lucky enough to move back to Bellevue in 2012. This is her sixth year at Lewis & Clark Middle School in Bellevue, Nebraska. Gina graduated from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with degrees in Secondary Education and Social Sciences, and then completed her Masters of Curriculum and Instruction at Doane University. Teaching is a profession that is ever-changing, which is perfect for this life-long learner. Gina remembers her first years teaching when using technology meant creating lessons using "Clickers" in the classroom. Now utilizing technology in the classroom means giving kids increased access to information and more choice in their learning. Gina has been part of a unique 1:1 iPad initiative in Bellevue called iPad Academy, and has used iPads in the classroom for five years. Her favorite apps include Classkick, Schoology, Explain Everything, Notability, and SeeSaw. Gina is currently an ambassador for Classkick.
Gina is married to her husband Jeremy, who has also spent his entire career in education and is currently an administrator for Council Bluffs Community Schools. Jeremy and Gina feel extremely blessed with four children: Madelyn (9), Isaac (6) and Noah (3) and Quentin (2). Gina's passions outside of the classroom include watching their children play sports, running long distance races, coaching volleyball, going to the gym, spending time with family and friends, spending time outdoors and watching sporting events. When it comes to sports, you can find her cheering for the Jays, Huskers and Hawkeyes.