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

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hour of Code in GUHSD!

In a world dominated by technology, the opportunities for computer programming have exploded. Every time you play a game, open an app, or surf the web you are benefitting from the hard work of coders from around the world.

The international Hour of Code week (December 7-13) challenges teachers to provide students with an opportunity to explore the world of coding for an hour. Numerous resources have been developed to help and you don't need to know how to code. If you are interested, please check out the Hour of Code event website. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have already committed to participating. It does not matter what subject you teach. 

Let's get GUHSD involved! Sign up to have your class participate!

If you plan to host an event in your class or would like some assistance, request support from one of the Digital Learning Coaches.

GUHSDtech Update - November 13, 2015

It’s been a busy year in the GUHSDtech world! Almost 6500 students are taking Chromebooks home with them every day. The ETS team has continued to respond and adjust to the needs of this massive rollout. Our students are getting more and more innovative opportunities thanks to the efforts of teachers and staff across the district. Thank you! Here are some updates from the GUHSDtech team.

GUHSDtech Vault
The availability of web tools have certainly changed everything. However, we know it is sometimes tough to keep track of the new tools available or exactly how they can be used with students. To help you figure out the best types of tools, strategies, and lesson ideas, we have created the GUHSDtech Vault. This collection of resources is organized by subject, strategy, and type of resource. Each one has a dedicated page on the GUHSDtech website to help you integrate it into your classroom. Visit the GUHSDtech Vault today!

GUHSDtech Innovation Day
To celebrate and share the achievements of the first semester, we are starting a bi-annual event called GUHSD Innovation Day. On December 10, teachers and students across the district will be encouraged to share their inner love of learning and innovation at school. Whether you are participating in the Hour of Code (see below), working on a big digital project, participating in an authentic learning experience, or just getting some Kahoot on - we want you to share! Use the #guhsdinnovation hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.

Hour of Code
2015 Hour of Code at
Grossmont Middle College.
The annual Hour of Code event is just a few weeks away during the week of December 7th. We challenge you to join thousands of other teachers around the world to provide your students with an hour (or more) of time to learn more about computer programming. Don’t worry if you aren’t a coder. Check out our post on the GUHSDtech Blog for more information.

Save the Date for TechFest 2016
GUHSD is set to host the third annual East County TechFest on Saturday, February 20 at West Hills High School. Last year, over 200 teachers gathered to learn about new strategies and tools. A call for speakers announcement will be sent out after Thanksgiving.

Digital Learning Coach Update - From April and Reuben
It’s been a whirlwind couple months for us, but we’ve definitely enjoyed the ride!  While we are still in the process of learning the ins and outs of these new positions, we are thrilled to be collaborating with teachers as they integrate technology into their classrooms.  We’ve visited over 50 classrooms in the last two months, and wanted to share some of the great thing that teachers are doing around the district…. Read More

If you need support integrating technology strategies into your classroom, help is available! Visit the DLC Support Request Page.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Update from the GUHSDtech DLCs!

Hi from your GUHSDtech Digital Learning Coaches, Reuben and April!

It’s been a whirlwind couple months for us, but we’ve definitely enjoyed the ride!  While we are still in the process of learning the ins and outs of these new positions, we are thrilled to be collaborating with teachers as they integrate technology into their classrooms.  We’ve visited over 50 classrooms in the last two months, and wanted to share some of the great thing that teachers are doing around the district.  

Over at Grossmont, students in Joann Phillip’s English class were using infographics to explain their idea of The American Dream.  Students developed a plan, conducted research, and then created their infographics to share with classmates. This was a great way for students to combine visuals and text to express their ideas! If you're interested in learning more about using infographics, check out these websites: and Piktochart. Here are a couple examples - Sports in America / America's Contradictions

Infographics in Joann Phillip’s English class

El Cajon Valley students in Kelly Verioti’s Biology class had a great time creating collaborative Google Drawings to illustrate the structure of DNA.  It was exciting to watch the discussion as students worked together to create their virtual posters.  The best part was when they inserted images of their posters into a group Google Slide deck to share their finished products with each other! Check out the GUHSDtech Google Drawing page for more information.

Collaborative Google Drawings in Kelly Verioti's class

Jen Johnson, science teacher at IDEA, just finished an awesome technology “bootcamp” project to kick-off this quarter.  She wanted students to feel comfortable using a variety of technology tools so that the technology wouldn’t overwhelm them when they started using it in conjunction with the content.  Students created a very cool Zombie Apocalypse Guide using Google Docs, Google Drawing, and WeVideo, and had a blast while learning the tools they’ll be using often in class. Here is Jen's intro emaze presentation and assignment instructions.

zombie apocalypse.PNG
Technology Day in Jen Johnson’s class

One thing we’ve learned from our journey thus far is that teachers in GUHSD are ready and willing to see how technology can enhance the learning experience for their students.  We love seeing teachers and students take risks as they implement new ideas in the classroom.  We can’t wait to see what’s in store as teachers and students continue leveraging the power of technology.

How to get support:

Do you need help with digital lesson and project design, web tool integration, Google Apps for Education products (Drive, Docs, Forms, etc.), or other ed tech instructional support? Simply fill out the DLC Support Form and one of us will contact you.

Until next time,

April and Reuben

Friday, September 4, 2015

gScholar, Passwords, and Docs Updates

The was an error with the uploading of student and classes at some schools to gScholar. Please be patient as we make updates in the next week. Another message will be sent out when it is ready to go. We apologize for delay.

Google Passwords
Staff members at each school have the ability to reset Google passwords. Click here for the list. Additionally, you can request access to reset Google passwords yourself. It is a simple and quick process. More information and the request form can be found on the GUHSDtech Google Password page. Please only call the Help Line if students do NOT have an account, not to reset passwords.

Doc Updates
If you used Docs, Slides, Forms, or Sheets in the last few days, you might have noticed some significant updates. Google added lots of great templates in Docs, more professional themes in Slides, a data view in Sheets, a voice typing option in Docs, and several other enhancements. You can read all about them at the Google Docs blog.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

GUHSDtech Update - September 3, 2015

Welcome back! This is going to be an exciting year for GUHSDtech. For starters, we now have over 11,000 Chromebooks across the district and another 100 Google Ninjas will be joining the ranks this October. Here are few tech topics to get us started for the new school year.

Chromebook Monitoring with gScholarFor those of you using Chromebooks, we have added a new tool to help you monitor and track what students are doing on Chromebooks. This tool allows you to view open tabs, take screenshots of open windows, check a student’s browsing history, and close tabs. While this is not a replacement for physical monitoring of a class, it can serve as a good deterrent. Visit the gScholar page at the GUHSDtech website for more information.

10 Tech Tool and Strategies for the First MonthLooking for some quick and easy ways to start using Chromebooks with students? Check out our 10 Tech Tips and Strategies for the First Month doc! No doubt there is a tool or two you could use the next time your students have access to Chromebooks.

Google Classroom UpdatesIf you missed the email last week, Google Classroom just got some substantial updates. Check out the GUHSDtech News blog for the details. There was even a new Chrome Extension just added yesterday.

Boot Camp Resources180 teachers attended one of the core subject area technology boot camps offered over the summer. Lots of great resources were shared by the presenters. If you are interested, you can access the workshop websites by visiting the GUHSDtech Workshops and PD page.

Share Your Classroom Tech!
If you or your students are on Twitter or Instagram, add #guhsdtech (along with your school’s hashtags) to your posts. Let’s celebrate our successes and tell the amazing story that is unfolding in classrooms across the district. Check out our current stream - Twitter - Instagram - add to it by using the #guhsdtech hashtag.

A Lot More to Come
This is just the start. There are several other projects in the works, including revamping the GUHSDtech website so that resources to implement digital strategies will be easier to find. Look for future GUHSDtech Updates for the latest news in educational technology.

Have a great school year! We look forward to continuing to support your efforts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Google Classroom Enhancements - August 2015

Some exciting new updates to Google Classroom were just released this week. 

Features available now:
  • Add a discussion question for student responses
  • Reuse assignments, including those from archived classes
  • Move an assignment at the top of the stream
  • Make due dates optional
  • View Done / Not Done assignments in a more efficient manner
Features coming soon:
  • Easily attach a Google Form
  • Build a course calendar with Classroom assignments AND have the ability to add non-digital assignments and due dates.
The interface also has a slightly different look.

Here is a quick screencast of the features:

You can also read about the updates at the Google Apps Blog here:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Our Social Citizens: Students Posting Above the Line

Social Media has reshaped the landscape that our students travel across each and every day. For better or worse, their lives straddle online and offline worlds. Relationships and friendships are stretched and pulled in directions that many of us can’t imagine. Too often our collective gut response involves cutting it off or pretending this force doesn’t frame the lives of the students who sit in our classrooms everyday. It consumes them. Like all other school districts, teachers and administrators in the Grossmont Union High School District grapple with the balance between it being a positive force or a distraction. Too often we get stuck in the negativity, but in the last two months there have been two instances where our students have risen to the occasion in the social media realm.

The first involves BurnBook. In early March, this app swept through our schools and caused a significant disruption here and across the country. Students anonymously posted terrible statements about their peers, teachers, and anything else they could attack. While bullying in schools is hardly a new idea, the nature of this app facilitated and encouraged it. Our district quickly reacted and issued a statement to the media and parents informing them of the situation, along with suggestions to deter its use. Luckily, it fizzled out almost as quickly as it started. Despite the negativity that BurnBook brought us, it gave a small group of students at Granite Hills High School the opportunity to stand up and take action. Dismayed by what they saw in the feed associated with their school, these young men decided to flood BurnBook with posts about potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. This was much to the dismay of many contributors who demanded with less-than-kind words that they stop. They didn’t. Within a day or two, the self proclaimed Potato King spammed BurnBook with so much nonsense, that the threat at Granite Hills dissipated. These students did the right thing without prompting, and should be considered heroes.

The second event follows the tragic car accident in front of West Hills High School on April 30th, where Junior Ryan Willweber lost his life. News of the accident and then his passing spread rapidly on social media. Within 24 hours, over 2,500 unique posts and over 20,000 retweets with the hashtag #RIPRyan appeared on Twitter and Instagram. The simple addition of #RIPRyan instantly created a community where anyone could view or contribute to the stream of photos, condolences, memories of Ryan, and support for family and friends. On Thursday evening, a message requesting that students across San Diego wear blue in his memory went viral. Friday morning, hundreds of students at over a dozen schools showed support to a grieving family and school. Photos were taken at several schools and shared out on Friday via Twitter. While nothing will take away that pain, people directly and indirectly touched by tragedy had the opportunity to instantly reach out and come together in a way not possible ten years ago.

Social media continues to redefine what happens in and out of school. It presents a new set of challenges on top of the challenges we educators already face. However, we can’t ignore it or shut it off. We must face it and embrace it so we stay relevant in this new world. There are no special online and offline rules. We can use the term “digital citizenship” to quantify this new frontier, but really, it’s just citizenship. This new territory will require us to build resources and guidelines in the coming months, but we can always learn from the ways our students continue to adapt to technology and the times they rise up to surprise us along the way.

Friday, April 17, 2015


17,561 is the number of years combined teaching experience present in GUHSD. That includes much history with grade accounting methods and tools: from paper and pencil ledgers and well-worn calculator keys to modern computer gradebook programs. At the low-tech end, it took extra time and devotion to weight grades by category compared to a pure points-possible method. With the advent of electronic spreadsheets like Excel, some of this could be automated with saved formulae but setup still required some individual mathematical know-how. The market responded with software that standardized and simplified setup but presented markedly more choices. Teachers and schools settled on their favorites and there was relative peace in the land because these tools merely informed the grade-reporting process; posted grades were still hand inscribed, bubbled or clicked into a separate system in a uniform format.

With the arrival of Infinite Campus in GUHSD, we crossed a huge bridge into a more connected world. In offering an integrated system with granular transparency of student progress, the company (like its competitors) had to address the needs of thousands of education clients across the country. Certainly no two are alike and some options that are deemed essential to educators in one learning environment may seem needless or nonsensical in another. Additionally, a student information system (SIS) must meet strict and ever-changing state and federal regulatory requirements. With enormous development costs, offering a customized version for each LEA simply isn’t practical. Campus has built a nerd-worthy gradebook component that can accommodate the most complex or simple grading approaches that teachers might choose.

Technology facilitates complexity but does not require it. Regardless of how we use a gradebook, the choices exercised should be informed and intentional with expected results. In the following tutorials, we’ll suggest best practices for two historically prevalent grade accounting methods with a view to easy setup and management within the Campus gradebook.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TechFest a Success!

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, over 200 educators from districts across East County gathered at West Hills High School for 2015 East County TechFest. This event focused on the integration of technology in the classroom.

Alexandra Bockert, a junior at Grossmont Middle College High School, keynoted the event. In her dynamic presentation, Ms. Bockert shared her school experiences with technology and challenged the teachers in the theater to provide a wide array of technology-driven opportunities. She emphasized that students need to be prepared for a digital world and our schools are an essential part in that development. You can watch a recording of the keynote here:

The over 30 conference-style sessions included a wide variety of innovative instructional strategies, technology tools, and best practices presented by teachers. Topics included Chromebooks, Google tools, gamification, online research, iPads, digital photography, flipping the classroom, and more. To see a full list of the sessions and the teacher-created resources, visit this link:

TechFest was organized by members of the Cajon Valley Union School District, Grossmont Union High School District, Lakeside Union School District, and Santee School District.

GUHSDtech Update - February 12, 2015

TechFest Recap
If you missed TechFest, take a few minutes to watch the incredible keynote by Grossmont Middle College High School student Alexandra Bockert. This junior gave a powerful argument for teachers to use technology in their classes. You can check it out here:

Look for the third annual TechFest in February 2016. In the meantime, you can access the resources presented by all of the speakers here:

Coding = Classroom Money
Back in December, almost 30 teachers around the district took a day of class to participate in the national Hour of Code event. A partnership between Khan Academy,, and Google are taking this idea to the next level. You can earn $1,000 or more for you class by having your students complete an online, self-guided, introductory course.

For more information and to register your class, visit this website:

iVIE Awards: Do your students create videos?
If so, you should consider submitting the best finished products to the county wide iVIE Awards. This program recognizes student videos in a film festival environment. For more information visit the iVIE website:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

IMPORTANT - Wireless Access Change

As of Thursday, January 28, the "guhsd-staff" network will be deactivated.

In order to avoid interruption to your wifi connection, please make sure you are connected to the "guhsd" wireless network. Use your same network credentials.

Staff Wireless Access in GUHSD
Use these job aids to help you connect to the "guhsd" network. Contact your Technology Specialist if you have problems connecting after reviewing the instructions below.
  • Mac OS 10.6+ (Teacher computers)
  • Windows 7
  • Chromebook (Only staff Chromebooks)
  • Other Devices Use the Following:
    • Security: WPA2-Enterprise
    • Encryption: AES
    • Authentication: PEAP
If you have trouble with your network credentials, please contact the HELP line (x64357).

For more information, see the Wifi Access page at GUHSDtech:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

GUHSDtech Update - January 20, 2015

Happy End of the Semester! As you wrap up first semester, here are some technology updates.

Google Classroom Updates
Classroom saw a handful of updates last week. First, there are now apps for both iOS and Android devices. Second, in the desktop version you can now see a list of all assignments for a specific class and archive classes. Click here for the full press release. The GUHSDtech website has a full set of Classroom screencasts to help you get started if you are new to Classroom.

Earn Professional Advancement Credit with
This robust online library of courses on software tools, business concepts, and education trends can now be used to earn professional development credit for both classified and certificated employees. For more information, see the GUHSDtech page.

East County Tech Fest 2015
Join us for the 2015 TechFest on Saturday, February 7 at West Hills High School. This all day event will provide you with great resources and strategies to continue to integrate technology tools into your classroom. Click here to register or view the TechFest website for more information.

Google Tuesday Support
We continue to offer an open lab on Tuesdays from 2:00pm - 4:30pm at the IR Lab for staff needing help with Google and other instructional tools. Click here for more information.