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Team Helios


Pete Wyndorf

on 15 July 2010

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Transcript of Team Helios

Helios (formerly I-Leap) undertook a massive overhaul of how we managed our workflow, scheduling, creation of content, and student and family communication and access. We launched a cloud computing initiative for the 2009-2010 school year using Google Apps for Education under our original name ileap. Students now
create websites to illusrate learning.
access mail for receiving quizzes, writing prompts, and to ask questions.
use docs for paperless language arts revisions and notetaking.
use calendar for scheduling and goal setting.
use the startpage to receive updates, assignments, and more from anywhere with access to the web.

Facilitators use our cloud to:
coordinate scheduling using google calendar
share work using sites and docs
base our whole platform of operations from one managable, loss-proof, and universally accessible location. The biggest benefit from this common digital workspace is the accessiblity. If a team member is at home, in Tulsa, or needs access to student work to show another colleague at a meeting, content is instantly accesible from any computer in the world. Having the Helios domain, driven by Google Apps, emboldens our teaching team with a digital identity. It's not unlike other social networking sites or homepages where ideas, plans, images, and a common vision exist in a work station that looks the same for everybody. Team Building with Technology At the start of the school year, Helios (formerly I-Leap) embarked on a week-long team building project that integrated technology, democracy, and photography in order to establish a culture of contribution. The project asked students to:
write briefly about what they hope to get out of school and learning.
take a digital camera and capture images that might represent that hope
come together as a team and view eachother's photos and vote on our favorite
using Voicethread, comment idividually on the chosen photograph
the end product was a voicethread that everyone had contributed to, and a photograph
that was then posted to our startpage The technology team building project helped establish a culture of respect for student voice, the democratic process, the art of critique, and laid a foundation for the use of Voicethread.

Voicethread continues to be used as a medium for students to critique eachother's work, comment on current events, and more. Enhancing Personal Pedagogy Google Apps for Education has been the single most significant enhancement to my personal pedagogy. From the first Google Doc that we created as a whole class in unison, to proctoring online quizzes using Google Forms, to creating websites to illustrate understanding and expression, cloud computing has simplified and enhanced my teaching in every way. So far, cloud computing has significantly reduced the amount of paper used in the classroom, the amount of work lost because of misplaced flash-drives, or work saved on home computers. Students can access their work from the library, a friend's house, home, grandma's, or from anywhere with internet access. I have built in significant computing time at school for those students with little or no computer access at home, and find that many utilize homework club during the week after school. I have found that managing my assignments, comments on student
work, and student revisions is massively simplified by using Google Apps.

After a few weeks, students are focused more on the assignment then on
the logistical mess of locating copies of handouts, rubrics, feedback, or revisions.

The whole show is in one place, and I believe that for Middle level students,
this is a huge advatage for maintaining engagement and experiencing success. Helios is preparing kids for a world of digital collaboration, and keeping the paper waste to a minimum. It is our hope that we can continue to practice, refine, and improve
upon the facilitation of these incredible applications. In the end, we hope
that our students walk away with new skills, and a strong, positve sense of self. Enhancing the Teaching Team
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