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Supports and resources to build Blackboard skills

Ready to learn Blackboard? In the School District of Waukesha, we have a wide variety of resources available to support staff members as they hone their Blackboard course building skills. Learning to use Blackboard is an investment in your own professional growth that will yield greater efficiency, flexibility, and ability to deliver learning resources to students. The tools and links below should help staff to get started in developing those skills.
Blackboard Help SiteThis is the official help site for Blackboard Learn. Documentation and tutorials regularly updated by Blackboard.

Just for clarity, our district utilizes the Original Experience in Blackboard Learn (not the Ultra Experience).

District Help Site - Blackboard PageSome information you will need to use Blackboard in the School District of Waukesha is unique to our district. For these types of questions, visit the SDW District Technology Help Site Blackboard page.

SDW Blackboard Tutorial YouTube PlaylistIf you enjoy watching, pa…
Recent posts

Easier with Blackboard: Deliver the right resource to every student

If you have ever attended a workshop or meeting where you have been presented with information you have already covered, you know just how easy it is to quickly tune out. As learners, we are most likely to engage when the content/topics/skills presented are new and challenging.

One goal of personalizing learning is to present each student with resources that move him/her forward in their learning journey. Yet the sheer mention of this idea is enough to cause most teachers to shudder as they consider the logistical nightmare of having print resources available for all students at all levels.

Blackboard has two key tools available that bridge the gap between ideal teaching practice and manageable logistics (giving every student the resources they need/deserve while keeping teachers sane). The two Blackboard tools - Groups and Adaptive Release. These tools can be used together to turn teachers into Blackboard ninjas, easily delivering just the right resources to just the right students.

Apple Classroom - A Tool for Teaching (Now available on Mac)

If you have not yet tapped into the power of Apple Classroom in your work with students, it is time to see what is possible. Many Waukesha teachers use Apple Classroom, setting a tone for how technology will be utilized in their classroom to maintain focus, ease transitions, increase efficiency, and observe student use of technology.

Already an Apple Classroom user? We have good news for you as well in this post - you can now use it on your Mac! (Read below to see how.)

Let's start with a quiz to determine if you are using the great TEACHING features in Apple Classroom!
Learning What Apple Classroom Can Do (And no, is not the same as Google Classroom)

Apple Classroom, probably better named Apple Classroom Manager, is a tool that allows teachers to see what is happening on all student iPads in their classroom, to open apps, websites, and files on student devices, and to lock specific students, groups, or an entire class into apps (or just lock down the iPad while you provi…

Creating Class Rosters for Apple Classroom

Classroom management in a technology rich classroom continues to be a commonly asked question within our district. And rightfully so... there are a lot of changes in our learning environments as iPads are introduced.
While our traditional golden rules for classroom management (the tried-and-true ones that we used to successfully manage classrooms before the introduction of technology) are still critical in our learning environments, there are additional tools that can help teachers to take control of the technology in students' hands.
Apple Classroom steps in as a classroom management option. Apple Classroom also allows teachers to take a "screen" view of their students while they are at school. This means you can get snapshots of what the students are doing on their screen right on your iPad, without looking over their shoulder.

Below are the first steps to getting started with Apple Classroom.  If you have not yet used Apple Classroom and would like to know more about ho…

Free Webinar Series: Develop Student Voice with VoiceThread

With a focus on amplifying student voice at The One Conference 2019, several of our featured teachers spoke in the keynote about the use of VoiceThread as a tool for allowing students to have a voice, be heard, and respond to one another.

VoiceThread is a powerful tool that allows the teacher to put a prompt, photo, video, document, or idea "on the table" for student consideration, and then open the floor for student commentary on that idea or topic. There are as many ways to use the tool as you can imagine -- it is flexible to all content areas, and for a wide variety of purposes.

Learning to use a new tool, especially one as ambiguous as VoiceThread which can be used so broadly, can be a challenge for teachers. Recently Jenny Odau, the Library Media Specialist at Horning Middle School, shared an upcoming series of FREE Voicethread webinars. These are intended to help teachers get up and running with VoiceThread, to learn what the platform is all about, and to come away wi…

Designing a better experience for students

Your expectations have changed. You did not intend for the change to happen, but you were shown an easier way and you adopted it. 
Behind the scenes, people responsible for the technology you use worked staggering hours to provide you with asmooth, simple, more efficient experience. In so doing, they showed you that life could be done more efficiently. They proved that you deserved a better experience, and you agreed them. In return, you have rewarded those you deem best at this with your loyalty, and sometimes even with your business. 
Most importantly, when using technology your expectations have shifted regarding the type of experience you are willing to accept .
Young people today have not had to be persuaded that they deserve better. They have grown up in a world where most of the tools they use have been designed for efficiency. They expect ease of use because they have not known a different experience. They would expect no less than a simple, efficient experience. They, too, aw…

Step back: If you could inspire one skill in students...

Standing too close to things can be dangerous. 
Stand too close to a moving car, stand too close to an opening door, stand too close to falling objects, and you will learn this the hard way. However, when it comes to the work we do day in and day out, we are forced to stand too close to it and risk losing perspective.
This week I spent time with people from a wide variety of business, government, and educational sectors. It forced me to step back from our educational world and engage with new ideas (some similar to ideas we encounter regularly in education) taken from an entirely different perspective. As uncomfortable as it was to take on a new view, it challenged me to re-encounter and explore my previously held truths. 
Adults cannot predict their career journey I spoke with many professionals this week. We talked about career paths and how they got to their current positions. Aside from one person, nobody was in the same job that they initially set out to hold when starting their …