How to Rollout a K-12 Learning Platform: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County in NC

illustration of a connected school district

Rolling out new technology—whether it’s a device or a learning platform—can be challenging for a lot of districts.

So, when we heard about the fantastic results that one of our newest customers was having—in just two-short months—we had to share their story!

Meet Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (WSFC) is the fourth-largest district in North Carolina. They chose Haiku Learning this summer, and they're currently rolling it out as an optional initiative in their 81-school district.

A Quick Snapshot of Early Successes

  • Over 1,400 classes created in the first 10 days of school!
  • Over 3,000 active classes and almost 15,000 unique users after two months!

Other-than-academic usage:

  • Finance department is using a class to collect payroll forms
  • Accountability department is using a class for testing plans
  • Senior staff is using a class for weekly meetings and Board of Education meetings.
  • Program managers and coaches are using classes to share resources, pacing guides benchmark timelines for subject specific teachers

Of course, we get excited when we hear about such usage!

As our CEO and Cofounder Bryan Falcón said, “The technology a district invests in is only effective if people are actually using it and everyone sees the value of it. That’s why we develop Haiku Learning: To exclusively focus on the unique needs of K-12, so the value is experienced by everyone in the K-12 school community.”

quote from Bryan Falcón

How did they do it?

According to Heather Horton, the Director of Digital Teaching and Learning at WSFC, the success can be attributed to choosing the right technology and having a carefully planned implementation.

Below is a quick overview of what they did and continue to do.

Try different platforms—and don’t be afraid to go your own way

First, WSFC considered the true needs of the district. When they evaluated options—including the state-recommended learning platform—the District determined that Haiku Learning better fit their educational objectives instead.

quote from Heather Horton

"I've always been a believer that Haiku Learning is easy to use. It's just so intuitive...We hit the ground running, getting people on board without any training. Every department got really creative about how they could use it,” said Heather.

Train the trainers first

Next, they took a unique approach to implementation. While many districts introduce teachers to a new learning platform during back-to-school orientations, WSFC chose to first train their instructional leaders and coaches over the summer.

“As [instructional leaders] saw the usefulness of Haiku Learning, we helped them create resource sites for each content area and move all curriculum resources to those classes” said Heather. “Teachers were able to join the class created by our instructional leaders and find resources aligned to their current units of study.”

Screenshot of social studies instructor resource class
Here's a screenshot from a resources site for social studies instructors.

Inspire administrators to use it

Another key to success was early buy-in from district leaders. In August, Heather and her team held information sessions with administrators, where they demonstrated how administrators could use Haiku Learning to effectively communicate with staff, model best practices for teachers, and facilitate training and faculty meetings.

Heather told her colleagues, “Don’t just think of a learning platform as a ‘student-teacher’ tool. Think of it as an ‘editor-reader’ tool.”

Screenshot of staff page for an elementary school
Here's a screenshot from staff site in one of their elementary schools.

Continue to refine

The district has plans for future training spread out over several sessions as teachers go deeper into the platform.

In addition, they have plans for a Haiku Learning Ambassador program, where each school will train a representative to be an ‘expert’ in Haiku Learning and take that knowledge back to their school to help lead ongoing training and professional development.

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EdTech Weekly News Roundup - November 20, 2015

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Being an educator means you probably have very little time to read the news during the week. Here are some interesting edtech articles from this past week that you might find useful.

"How to Champion the Four C’s in the Classroom” - edSurge

The best tip in here for educators: do not "use a dozen edtech tools at one time” or even try to tackle all the 4Cs at once. They offer up some examples of each of the C’s and recommend picking one or two to start. Many of the apps offered here, like Padlet, are already in the Haiku Learning Embed the Web library, and we did an App of the Week blog post on it!

"What Can Be Done To Improve Parent-Teacher Communication?” - Mindshift/KQED

How often, and through what means, do you as an educator communicate with parents? Phone, email, text message? This article raises questions like that and offers some research on the topic, such as what groups of kids benefit the most from regular communication between their teacher and parents.

"Are We Getting Smarter about Ed Tech?” - Edutopia

One of the experts in this article suggests using technology as "a tool for creating and making authentic products," rather than merely consuming information or performing rote tasks.

Hey, if you’re using Haiku Learning, WikiProjects is PERFECT for that. Students have choices in how to demonstrate their knowledge using a variety of tools. Students can create content using hundreds of real-world web applications from our Embed the Web library and embed their work directly into their WikiProject. They become content creators, problem-solvers, & web publishers.

"Edudemic’s Question of the Month: What is your most creative project you’ve done so far this year?” - Edudemic

These are great for inspiration! And if you’re using Haiku Learning and have your own answer to this question, make sure to enter our Raise Your Hand contest!

"Beyond the Silver Bullet: Making 1:1 Matter” - EdTech: Focus on K-12

Some food for thought on the topic of what schools should really be focusing on when it comes to edtech: people! Without creating the right culture and providing the right training, your 1:1 program may not be as successful as you hope.

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Teachers: Enter our Best Practices Contest!

Raise Your Hand contest logo

Calling Haiku Learning teachers!

What amazing work are you doing with your students? And what best practices for using Haiku Learning do you want to shout from the rooftops?

Game on!

Enter our "Raise Your Hand" contest!

Here's a chance for you to share your excellent work with the Haiku Learning community of educators!

"Raise Your Hand" is a best practices contest we’re running via our Community Forum, the place for Haiku Learning educators to share and learn from each other.

How do teachers participate?

To enter, teachers go to the Community Forum and describe your most effective project, lesson, or assignment done using tools in Haiku Learning and why it was so effective.

What's the prize?

Staff at Haiku Learning will review and vote on submissions. The top three vote-getters will receive a Haiku Learning t-shirt, Haiku Learning stickers (people love putting them on devices!), be featured on our website, and their idea will be featured in an eBook “Best Practices for Using Haiku Learning” that all Haiku Learning educators will be able to download. The top vote-getter of the three will also win a Haiku Learning knapsack!

And even if a submission doesn't win, we may still select it to be included in the eBook! After all, we want as many people as possible to benefit from great ideas!

When is the deadline?

The contest ends at midnight on December 10th. Winners will be notified the week of December 15th. If you've got some extra time on your hands and a large cup of coffee, feel free to peruse the Official Rules.

And please...share the contest with your fellow teachers at school! We know Haiku Learning educators are doing some fantastic work and we want to facilitate the sharing of fantastic ideas!

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EdTech Weekly News Roundup - November 07, 2015

news image

Being an educator means you probably have very little time to read the news during the week. Here are some interesting edtech articles from this past week that you might find useful.

"Crowdsourcing Professional Development: Six Tips From Tech-Savvy Teachers” - edSurge

Organized by themes such as “Safety First” and “Consider the Long Term Cost” these tips from teachers offer helpful insights, like reaching out to a company that doesn’t offer a free trial and asking for one because oftentimes they may just oblige! Side note: Haiku Learning offers a free version of its software for teachers as well as free pilots for schools.

"How Administrators Can Design the Best Learning Experiences for Teachers” - edSurge

Having teachers learn in environments similar to what they’re supposed to be facilitating with their students (collaborative, purposeful) and focusing on the experience not seat time, forms the foundation of the tips offered in this article. If you're interested in this topic, check out our own recent post on teacher-created PD.

"Social-Emotional Apps for Special Ed” - Edutopia

There are 9 skill-building apps offered in this article that can be used in school or at home. The apps run the gamut from getting kids moving to getting them to keep calm and carry on to helping them develop kindness and compassion.

"The 7 C’s of Meaningful Learning Begin with Citizenship” - Tech & Learning

The article includes slides, resources, and ideas to help students navigate the digital world and understand how their online messages spread and have a worldwide audience. Topics covered include citizenship, courage/compassion, communication, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and curiosity.

"10 Ideas to Consider Before Using an Internet Resource: The Web in the Classroom, Part 1” - Tech & Learning

Student privacy and safety is imperative when using tools in the classroom. Here are 10 ideas to reflect upon before bringing a new tool into the classroom, from becoming familiar with your own district’s policies, to reading the product’s terms of use, to making sure you have a plan for why you’re bringing the tool into the classroom. You may also want to see if they signed the Student Privacy Pledge, as Haiku Learning recently did.

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App of the Week: OneNote Class Notebook

app of the week image

In this weekly blog, our own Emily Jeanes gives readers the lowdown on web apps that educators can use inside Haiku Learning. Emily is the very first Haiku Learning Sales Engineer. Edtech ninja, sci-fi writer, and proud transfer from our award-winning Client Services team, she brings with her a passion for researching, playing with and integrating awesome educational tools into Haiku Learning. Like Haiku Learning, she likes to think she plays well with others.

What is OneNote Class Notebook?

From their site: One Note Class Notebooks "have a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities." All of that note-taking, collaboration, and interactive, rich, content creation you love from OneNote — it's all prepped and ready to go, empowering you and your entire class.

In Haiku Learning: Teachers can create a OneNote Class Notebook associated with their Office 365 account instantly anywhere in their class via an LTI Activity (and students get their own Notebook simultaneously, too!).

I think that Microsoft really summed it up really well in this recent blog post where they said the LTI integration "allows teachers to launch the OneNote Class Notebook app from their LMS course page, walk through the notebook creation process, and add the created notebook to their course—all without leaving their learning environment."

OneNote Class Notebook launched from Haiku Learning
You can launch the OneNote Class Notebook from within Haiku Learning.

How do I get it?

Office 365 Schools can register their learning management system with OneNote Class Notebook right over here! Just log in with your Office 365 account, and you will be directed to the LTI Dashboard, where you can snag the Host, Key and Secret to set up the LTI Tool in Haiku Learning. Or hey, you can always watch this quick Office Mix that walks you through the entire process. If you're not familiar with Office Mix, it's another Microsoft product that we recently reviewed in App of the Week.

Why should I try it?

Every once in a while I get to try out an LTI tool that feels like it was designed from the start for the online classroom space - one that takes into consideration the power that can be found in providing diverse levels of collaboration, one that promotes the contextualization of student voice, interactivity, and content alongside one another. And all in a bite-sized LTI package (or a content block, in our case).

I believe that OneNote Class Notebooks have something special going here - and hey, you get all of the wonderful tools that OneNote offers along for the ride!

All the tools in a OneNote Class Notebook
Here are all the tools you get with OneNote Class Notebooks.

With a Collaboration Space (teachers and students can edit), a Content Library (teachers can Edit), and individual Student Notebooks (each student can pour their own voice and work into their space, for their teachers editing and eyes only), you don't have to set up your Class Notebook so much as just make it your own. They do the heavy lifting: they handle the SSO, auto-include your Class Name from Haiku Learning, create student notebooks dynamically, and create some default Sections for Private Notebooks (of course you can also add your own).

Bam. You just worry about how you'd like your students to use their Notebooks. (But don't worry too hard. I bet they'll surprise you.)

A preview of a teacher's OneNote Class Notebook
Here's a peek inside a OneNote Class Notebook.

Want to create interactive lessons in OneNote with audio and video? Go for it. Content for any subject area? Yep. Want students to add comments or handwritten annotations (or images, files, links, or notes)? They can do that. Just want them to put their notes in a place where they can find them again, and you can help? Sure. Or have them Tag items, so that you can search for Critical, Question, Idea, or any other custom Tag in their notebooks - then add your text feedback right where they need it. (Love those tags!)

I love that OneNote is a blank slate. Sometimes that can be scary, I know...where do you start? But they've given you a really strong format that points you and your students in the direction of collaboration and creation. And if that doesn't fit naturally into the zen space that is Haiku Learning, I'm not sure what does.

And for all of that, we think OneNote Class Notebooks are pretty great.

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