Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Open Educational Resources in GUHSD

GUHSD is starting a three to four-year process to develop Open Educational Resource (OER) Curriculum Collections to replace and supplement our traditional textbook model in some subjects. We are joining a national movement called #GoOpen that was kicked off at a White House event in November. GUHSD representatives attended that event and a follow-up event in March near San Francisco where districts across the nation shared best practices and strategies for successful implementation of OER materials.

This comes at a perfect time for our district. FutureForward provides us the opportunity to rethink how curriculum is delivered in a world where digital content dominates our lives. This is an exciting and daunting idea. We need to be deliberate and focused in our continued efforts to ensure our students get equal access to quality resources and instruction.

The idea was first presented to many teachers and administrators in December. Between December and March, GEA and the district established some key guidelines to ensure that OER development and integration of the finished products were reasonable and fair to teachers while being systematic and scalable. During that process, we know there was a lot of discussion at sites and subject area councils. We are now able to share specific information, including the curation process, roles, and some examples. All of this information is now available at the GUHSDtech website:

Once you have reviewed the GUHSD OER materials, we would like to hear your interest and thoughts on this new program. You can complete the Open Educational Resource Interest Form here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

TechFest 2016 a Success!

On Saturday, February 20, Grosmmont Union High School District hosted the 3rd annual East County Tech Fest at West Hills High School.  This collaborative effort included speakers from Cajon Valley, Grossmont, and Santee school districts as well as attendees from all over San Diego county.

This half-day conference kicked off with a keynote from Jen Roberts, a Point Loma High School English teacher, Google for Education Innovator, and author of Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning.  Three sessions followed with topics covering a wide variety of educational technology tools, instructional strategies, and methods for enhancing and rethinking traditional instruction. With 125 educators in attendance, there were plenty of opportunities to share ideas and connect with teachers around the county.  We look forward to continuing this great event and expanding its reach so more educators can experience a great day of learning.

If you would like to access the presentations and resources for the conference, please visit:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

GUHSDtech Update - January 14, 2016

Believe it or not, the first Chromebook carts were distributed only two years ago! Since then, we have seen a dramatic increase in available technology and professional development opportunities for all staff. As we move into 2016, we will once again significantly expand access and support. The Instructional Technology team looks forward to working with you.

Updated Website
The new year has brought a new look to the GUHSDtech website. The resources have been reorganized and the navigation streamlined. We hope you find it useful.

GUHSDtech Vault
Not sure how to bring a webtool into your classroom? Check out the GUHSDtech Vault! This comprehensive collection of online applications is organized by subject area and type of activity. Additionally each tool has a dedicated page that describes how to use it in the classroom and examples of its use by students. As you plan for next semester, make sure to check out the GUHSDtech Vault.

GUHSDtech Math and Science Summit
We are happy to announce the first of several subject area technology professional development opportunities. The Math and Science day will be on Tuesday, March 1. Led by innovative GUHSD teachers, this workshop will provide a variety of topics designed specifically for math and science teachers. Interested in attending? Complete this registration form. Look for more workshops this spring that cover the Humanities, World Languages, WeVideo, and Digital Lesson Design.

Collaborate with a DLC
The Digital Learning Coaches are available to help you integrate meaningful technology practices into your curriculum. Visit the DLC Support Request Page for more information.

From the DLCs
Our Digital Learning Coaches continue to reach out to teachers across the district. Click here to read about some of their in experiences at El Capitan, Merit, and Mount Miguel. Click here to read the full post.

Upcoming Events

  • 3rd Annual East County TechFest - Saturday, February 20 at West Hills HS from 8am - 12pm. Click here for more information or to register to attend.
  • Global School Play Day - February 3, 2016. Unstructured play time is an essential piece of a child’s development. Visit the for how you can participate.

Update from the GUSHDtech DLCs

Happy 2016 from your GUHSDtech Digital Learning Coaches, Reuben and April!

We hope you had some time over the break to relax and unwind a bit.  This semester has been full of new experiences for us and for so many teachers around the district.  It’s been truly inspiring to see the innovative teaching and risk-taking with technology integration over the past semester.  As we move toward second semester, we wanted to share a few highlights from the past two months.

MERIT Academy Day of Code - The week of December 7 - 13 was the 2015 Hour of Code event.  Hundreds of thousands of classrooms across the world participated in this amazing experience which gave students of all ages the opportunity to learn more about coding and computer science.  One very special event in our district occurred at MERIT Academy.  We spent a fun-filled morning helping over 20 MERIT students learn coding skills.  They even got to participate in a Google Hangout with a former GUHSD student who is currently studying computer science at San Jose State University. The enthusiasm and engagement of the students was fantastic, and we highly encourage you to try Hour of Code with your students!  For more information visit our district’s Hour of Code resource page:

MERIT students trying new coding games

MERIT students asking SJSU student, Charles Leon,  about computer science

Innovation is more than just technology, and we’re seeing it everywhere! - Although our official title is Digital Learning Coach, we get excited when we see any type of innovative learning experiences taking place in our district.  On our district’s first annual Innovation Day, April visited the science classroom of Sonia Gahloff at Mount Miguel.  Her students were working on calculating the proper settings to determine the correct trajectory of a ball shot out of a Pascoe Long Range Projectile Launcher.  It was awesome to see students celebrating when all their hard work paid off with a direct hit on the center row of the target!  

Finalizing their calculations

Determining target placement  


Cool Tool Highlight - One technology tool that we’ve seen teachers using with a lot of success is Kahoot!  Kahoot is an free online program that engages students with review and practice quizzes.  It’s very easy to use and is great for group settings.  Students can play on any device with an internet connection.  Kahoot is great for a unit review, vocabulary review, reading comprehension checks, or even a quick exit ticket!  If you haven’t tried a Kahoot, take a look at our Kahoot resource page for tutorials and example activities.  

Students reviewing content with Kahoot in Chi Ping’s first-year Chinese language class

We’d like to send a huge thank you to all the individual teachers, departments, support staff, and administrators who are supporting technology integration in our district.  We can’t wait to what’s coming in the months ahead.

Until next time,

April and Reuben

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Successful Innovation Day

The first GUHSD Innovation Day was a fantastic success. We had a lot of buzz on Twitter, Instagram, and the GUHSDtech Google + Community. Additionally, Franz Ruiz from El Cajon Valley HS and Azita Mohmoudi from Grossmont HS and two of their students presented several projects at the Board Meeting. One board member commented it was nice to acknowledge academic achievements in that public forum.

While Innovation Day was successful, it was really just a snapshot of what goes on across our district on a day-to-day basis. GUHSD teachers regularly provide innovative learning opportunities. The GUHSDtech team continues to challenge you to take instructional risks, try new ideas, and use the available technology to amplify student experiences.

If you want to discuss an idea or need help implementing a technology infused activity, we are here for you. Just complete the Digital Learning Coach Support Request form.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

Day of Innovation Photos

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Innovators Support Group

Do you want to discuss big ideas in the world of education and educational technology?
Are you exploring some digital project ideas, but would love to bounce them off other people?
Does collaborating with other teachers who are constantly looking for new ideas sound like fun?
Do you want something different for your classroom and school?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, this opportunity is for you! The Innovators Support Group is forming in January. This small gathering will bring together the brainpower of 10-15 teachers and administrators to discuss the changes in education, share instructional ideas, collaborate on project development, and learn from each other.

Unlike other structured professional development opportunities, the group will determine its path.

We are limiting this group to 10-15 teachers. We are open to running multiple groups, but want to keep them small to encourage sharing and to keep the tone informal.

Our first meeting is January 13. Future days will be discussed on that day.

If you are interested, please complete this form.

Innovation Day - December 10, 2015

On Innovation Day, December 10, I encourage all interested teachers to mark the day by reflecting on the meaning of innovation in what is an increasingly technological learning environment. We must support students and educators as they focus on becoming problem-solvers, analyzers of data, effective communicators, creative thinkers, and collaborators.

We must also realize that technology is not the innovation. The innovation is deeper content.  It’s more active forms of learning and teaching. It’s more authentic forms of assessment. It’s linking school to life. Innovation is taking the passions that kids have in their informal learning and using available technology to bring those into formal learning. Here are a few ideas to consider on our first Innovation Day:

  1. Post a photo or link of what’s going on in your classroom on December 10 on Twitter or Instagram with the #guhsdtech and #guhsdinnovation hashtag
  2. Detail your project or lesson on the GUHSDtech Google + Community
  3. Share a project, lesson, and/or student work from anytime this semester and post the link on social media, Google+, and our Google Form
  4. Participate in the Hour of Code
  5. Invite your site admin and/or the GUHSDtech team (complete this form) to visit your classroom on December 10

Ralf Swenson, Superintendent
Grossmont Union High School District